Overview of Florida Security Deposit Laws

Gavel and Weights

Florida Security Deposit Laws

Feb. 14, 2020

Lease agreements ordinarily require paying a security deposit to cover future damages. It is also to protect rental owners when tenants are unable to pay or skip paying their monthly rent.

As a rental owner in Jacksonville , you can experience several benefits from collecting a security deposit from a tenant. Security deposits can:

  • Act as a buffer for unpaid utilities when a tenant leaves the property. If for any reason the tenant moves out without paying for their utilities, you can use it to pay for the bills.
  • Cover for costs in cleaning fees. If a tenant moves out of the property and leaves it in disarray, you can use the security deposit to pay for the cleaning expenses. This will help to restore the property back to its pristine condition. Furthermore, it enhances the property’s marketability.
  • Reduce the loss of rent payments. If for any reason a tenant is unable to meet the monthly rent, you can use a portion of the security deposit or the full amount as payment.
  • Minimize loss in rental profits. In the case of a tenant abandoning the rental, you can make the necessary deductions from the security deposit.
  • To pay for property damage left by the tenant. Some tenants may leave damages such as stained walls, unpermitted interior renovation, broken windows, and damaged locks. The security deposit minimizes your expenses to fix and replace the broken items.

Here's a Guide to "Security Deposits in Florida"

Florida Security Deposit Limit

There is no limit to how much you can collect. Thus, at your discretion, you can choose to collect two or three months of rent. Our policy and recommendation is a deposit equal to 1 months rent, in certain situations 2 months rent maybe required.

A high deposit, however, might discourage prospective tenants. As such, it would be recommended for you to ask for a reasonable amount as a security deposit.

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Nonrefundable Fees

In Florida, there is no statute in terms of nonrefundable fees, but it is habitually allowed and customarily practiced.

Storing a Tenants Deposit in Florida

You have options to safeguard a tenant’s security deposit. Among other places, you can put it in a non-interest bearing account or in an interest-bearing account.

Written Notice after Security Deposit Receipt

Under Florida laws, a landlord is required to provide the tenant with a written notice when they receive the security deposit. This must be done within 30 days. The notice must include the following details:

  • Location and name of the bank where the security deposit is kept;

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  • Information on whether the deposit is or is not combined with other funds;
  • Information on the interest rate and whether it is stored in an interest-bearing or non-interest bearing account.

The tenant must be informed of any changes governing the terms of the security deposit or its movement to a new location. A landlord must provide the tenant a written notice within 30 days.

Reasons to Withhold a Tenant’s Security Deposit in Florida

Certain conditions permit the landlords to retain a part or the entire security deposit. In Jacksonville, Florida, the conventional reasons include:

  • Replacement for damage to the rental unit apart from normal wear and tear;
  • Monetary loss resulting from the tenant’s breach of contract;
  • Coverage for tenant’s other violations of the leasing contract;
  • Coverage for tenant’s unpaid rent.

Walk-Through Inspection

Under Florida’s landlord-tenant laws, a walk-through inspection is not required. The inspection evaluates the condition of the property.

Security Deposit Refund in Florida

When the tenant vacates, you have 15 days to return the tenant’s security deposit. This includes the interest earned if applicable.

If it is only a partial refund, you must provide the tenant with a list of deductions. You have 30 days from the lease termination to provide the tenant with written figures. Otherwise, you forfeit your claim to keep a portion of the security deposit.

Change in Property Ownership

In case there is a change in property ownership, you must send a written notice to the leaseholder.

The tenant’s security deposit will be transferred to the new rental owner. This also includes reassigning the duties and responsibilities of the previous rental owner existing under the present lease contract.

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The Bottom Line

If you have specific questions, hire the services of a qualified Florida attorney. Alternatively, you can seek advice from a professional property management company.

Please note that this blog should not be used as a substitute for legal assistance from a licensed attorney in Florida. Laws often change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regard to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.

Innovative Property Solutions

8833 Perimeter Park Blvd Suite 301, Jacksonville, FL 32216

(904) 321-9020

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