Landlords often incur damages to their property due to the actions of tenants. Most landlords request security deposits to offset any possible monetary losses as a result of these damages. In Florida, however, its important that a landlord properly make a claim to the tenant’s security deposit or they may lose the right to do so whether the tenant caused damage to the property or not.
Florida Statute §83.49 outlines the procedure that should be followed when a landlord makes a claim on a tenant’s security deposit. The landlord has 30-days from the time a tenant vacates a property to notify, in writing, of a claim on the deposit. Delivery of this written notification must be certified by mail to the last known address of the tenant.
The notification should be formatted the following way:
- “This is a notice of my intention to impose a claim for damages in the amount of _ upon your security deposit, due to _. This notification is sent to you as required by s. 83.49(3), Florida Statutes. You are hereby notified that you must object in writing to this deduction from your security deposit within 15-days from the day to receive this notice. Or I will be authorized to deduct my claim from your security deposit. Your objection must be sent to (landlord’s address).”
If the landlord fails to provide written notification within 30-days, they forfeit their right to the security deposit. If such rights are forfeited, the landlord must return the tenant’s deposit in full. Once the landlord delivers the claim notice against the security deposit, the tenant has 15-days to respond. If the tenant does not object, the landlord can deduct the monies from the security deposit and return the remainder to the tenant. If the tenant does object to the notification and the parties can’t compromise, either party can file a claim to adjudicate their right to security deposit monies through the court system.
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Responsibilities in regards to security deposits can be technical and complex. Consult with an attorney from our real estate legal firm to understand your rights.
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