Every landlord is entitled to collect a security deposit at the beginning of a lease term in Florida, but do you know the specifics of collecting and returning a security deposit? Since it’s always best to be informed, let’s make sure you know the law when it comes to security deposits for Florida properties.
No Maximum, But a Separate Account
Always provide a receipt for a security deposit, and within 30 days of receiving a security deposit you must provide a written notice to the tenant disclosing the location of the security deposit.
Florida property law has no statute on the maximum amount you can collect as a security deposit. Depending on your property the amount will likely be 1-3x the monthly rent. Landlords in Florida must deposit a security deposit (and advanced rent) into a separate account with a licensed and insured bank or savings institution located in Florida. Always provide a receipt for a security deposit, and within 30 days of receiving a security deposit you must provide a written notice to the tenant disclosing the location of the security deposit. This disclosure can be in the lease or sent as a separate notice. There is some specific language that must be included in the notice, so make sure to check Chapter 83, Part II of the Florida Statutes to find that disclosure requirement language. Finally, the account can be interest-bearing or non-interest bearing, but if the account is interest-bearing the amount of interest must be provided to the tenant once annually in the form of a payment or a reduction to the rent. However, no interest is due to a tenant who wrongfully terminates his or her tenancy prior to the end of the rental term.
LeaseRunner provides a Florida Security Deposit Disclosure form for both interest-bearing and non-interest bearing accounts that can batched and sent with other documents for e-signing. As with all of our documents, the Florida Security Deposit Disclosure form complies with all Florida statutes regarding security deposits.
Procedure for Return of the Deposit
The timeframe and procedure for returning a security deposit in Florida depends on if the landlord intends to impose a claim on the deposit. If there will be no claim then a landlord must return the deposit, along with any interest due, within 15 days of the tenant vacating the premises. If the landlord will be imposing a claim on the security deposit then he must notify the tenant in writing within 30 days after the tenant vacates the premises. The landlord is notifying the tenant that he intends to impose a claim and the reasons for such claim. There is some specific language that must be included in the written notice, so check Fla. Sta. § 83.49 for that exact wording. LeaseRunner’s Florida Residential Lease Agreement contains the required language from this statute.
If the landlord fails to give the required notice within the 30 day period, they forfeit the right to impose a claim upon the security deposit and may not seek a setoff against the deposit but may file an action for damages after return of the deposit.
Once this notice is received by the tenant they will have 15 days to object . If the tenant does not object then the landlord must return the remaining balance of the security deposit, along with any applicable interest, to the tenant within 30 days from when the landlord first notified the tenant. Here’s why it’s important to know your timeframes in Florida: If the landlord fails to give the required notice within the 30 day period, they forfeit the right to impose a claim upon the security deposit and may not seek a setoff against the deposit but may file an action for damages after return of the deposit. That’s a much more time consuming and arduous path than giving the proper notice, so be careful about the timeframe!
If the tenant does not object to the landlord’s claim or the amount claimed within 15 days after receipt of the landlord’s notice, the landlord may then deduct the amount from the deposit and send the remaining amount to the tenant within 30 days after the date of the initial notice.