A Renter's Guideline to Security Deposits
Most rental agreements and leases in Florida require a security deposit. A security deposit is intended to cover any damage beyond wear and tear during the lease’s timeframe. A security deposit differs from the last month’s rent, which is a pre-payment to the landlord for the last month of tenancy.
Tenants in Florida have security deposit rights, and landlords must adhere to the rules under Florida landlord-tenant law. To provide individuals with information on their rights when it comes to security deposits under Florida landlord-tenant law, our South Florida landlord-tenant attorneys have provided a breakdown on security deposits.
Security Deposit Limits
Under Florida law, there is no limit on the amount of security deposit a landlord can charge. However, landlords usually will not require more than two months’ rent.
An excessive security deposit amount will cause potential tenants to look at other rental properties. One to two months’ rent is reasonable enough to protect Florida landlords against damage, eviction, and vacancy costs.
What are Landlords Required to Disclose to Tenants?
Within 30 days, Landlords in Florida are required to disclose the following in writing:
- Where the funds will be held (either in an interest or non-interest bearing account)
- Name of account depository or bank
- Rate and time of interest payments
If the account bears interest, payments must be made annually and at the termination of the lease to the tenants. However, no interest is due if the tenant wrongfully terminates the rental contract. Under Florida landlord-tenant law, landlords are required to provide tenants with 15 days notice before deducting any money out of the security deposit.
When It’s Time to Take Legal Action
Upon the end of a lease agreement, the landlord is required to return the security deposit within the timeframe specified on the lease. Usually, the timeframe to pay back the security deposit must fall within 15 to 60 days after the tenant has vacated the property.
If a landlord has not provided you with your security deposit after 60 days, the next step would be to write a letter of demand. If it gets to this point, our law firm suggests seeking legal counsel to discuss your options. The attorneys at Kelley Fulton Kaplan & Eller are experts in landlord-tenant disputes and are ready to fight for your rights.
Do you have more questions about security deposits and lease agreements? Contact our knowledgeable landlord-tenant attorneys for a no-obligation consultation!