Florida Law Governing Tenant Security Deposits

Under Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes, also known as Florida’s Landlord and Tenant Act, under certain circumstances, a Landlord may make a claim on the Tenant’s Security deposit.  But there are important procedural steps that both landlords and tenants should be familiar with regarding claims on security deposits. For starters, the governing Florida statutes for residential security deposits is 83.49. Fla. Stat. §83.49.

When Does a Landlord Need to Pay Back the Security Deposit?

  • Under §83.49(3)(a), the landlord has 15 days after the termination of the lease agreement to return the security deposit to the tenant. Fla. Stat. §83.49(3)(a), unless, the Landlord intends to make a claim on the security deposit by virtue of same damage or some monies that the tenant owes to the landlord, in which case, if the landlord intends to make a claim on the deposit, the Landlord has thirty days to notify the tenant of same at the tenant’s last known mailing address.

What Should a Landlord State in a Notice of Intent to Make a claim on a Tenant’s Security deposit

  • Chapter 83.49 contains some suggested language that a Landlord may use in making a claim on a residential’s tenants security deposit. The sample language contained in Fla. Stat. §83.49(3)(a) notice is as follows:

This is a notice of my intention to impose a claim for damages in the amount of   upon your security deposit, due to___________. It 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 time you 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)  .Fla. Stat. §83.49(3)(a).

How Much Time Does a Landlord Have to File a Claim on the Security Deposit?

  • The landlord has 30 days after the termination of the lease to give the tenant a physical copy of the notice, in which the landlord writes their intention to put a claim on the security deposit. Id. If the landlord fails to give notice to the tenant within the 30-day period, they forfeit their right to put a claim on the security deposit and must return it to the tenant. This however, does not bar the landlord from filing a suit for the deposit of a portion thereof.

Other Important Considerations:

  • Regular wear and tear of someone resulting from a tenant’s occupancy in a residential dwelling is not the proper subject of a Landlord’s imposition of a claim on a Tenant’s security deposit.

Chapter 83 and most standard Florida leases provide that if a security deposit dispute ends up being litigated in court, the winning party will be allowed to receive the court costs plus reasonable attorney’s fees.