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Florida Law 83.67 Prohbitied Practices Landlord/Tenant

Security Deposit Violations: Is Your Landlord Abusing His Power With Your Money?

Security Deposits: Faithful Performance or Pennies from Heaven?

There are many ways in which landlords can violate tenants’ rights and get into serious trouble with their tenants, perhaps the easiest is by misappropriating the tenant’s security deposit. Florida law authorizes your landlord to collect a security deposit to act as security for the faithful performance of the rental agreement. Many landlords collect a security deposit to ensure that funds are available to repair damages caused by tenants or to offset against unpaid rent upon conclusion of the tenancy. Although this practice could have advantages for landlords, it is important to ensure compliance with the laws that govern security deposits. According to the Florida Statute §83.49, a landlord may request a security deposit for residential properties, however they must meet the following requirements:

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Whether you are wanting to send a demand letter to your landlord or file a court action to try to get the return of your security deposit, contact the Attorneys at Palmetto Law, PA by calling toll-free at 855-529-7256 to arrange a $50 15 minute evaluation of your security deposit claim.

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A landlord who rents more than five individual units must provide to his or her tenants in the lease agreement or within 30 days after receipt of any security deposit written notice to the tenant which includes information concerning the handling of the tenant’s security deposit. The written notice must contain:

  • Name and address of the depository where the advance rent or security deposit is being held or state the landlord has posted a surety bond
  • Whether or not tenant is entitled to interest on the security deposit
  • Contains proper disclosure required by Florida Statute §83.49(2)(d)

Holding the Money and Interest

The landlord has three options with regards to interest on the deposit. They include:

  • Holding the total amount in a separate non- interest- bearing account in a Florida banking institution.
  • Holding the total amount in a separate interest- bearing account in a Florida banking institution for the benefit of the tenant. In which, the tenant shall receive interest in amount of 75% of the annualized average interest or 5% per year (simple interest) whichever the landlord elects.
  • Post a surety bond with the clerk of the circuit court in the county in which the dwelling unit is located in the total amount of the security deposit he holds or $50,000, whichever is less

Return of Security Deposit

A security deposit with interest must be returned to the tenant within 15 days after the tenant vacates the property. Or the landlord shall have 30 days to give the tenant written notice by certified mail to tenant’s last known mailing address of his intention to impose a claim on the deposit and the reason for imposing such claim. The landlord is authorized to deduct his claim from your security deposit if you do not object by writing within 15 days. If the landlord fails to give the required notice within 30- day period he forfeits the right to impose a claim upon the security deposit and may not seek a setoff against the deposit, but may file a separate action for damages after return of the monies.

In Conclusion

Security deposits are not intended to be free money for landlords and they should only be kept by the landlord when necessary. The goal of a security deposit is to induce the landlord to rent to a tenant AND to encourage a tenant to leave the property in the same condition they found it (excepting normal wear and tear of course). However, these goals can only be achieved through strict compliance with the Florida statutory requirements governing such security deposits.

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