The Florida deposit rules are contained under Chapter 83 of the state’s statutes. Under the Florida landlord tenant law, these rules apply to all residential landlords who require tenants to pay a security deposit prior to moving into their rentals.
The Florida deposit law regulates a number of things.This includes how a landlord must store their tenant’s security deposit, when they can make deductions, and when they must return it to the tenant.
The purpose of security deposits is to provide the landlord with some form of financial cushion in the event of financial damage resulting from certain negligent tenant actions or property damage to the rental premises. An example of this is when a tenant moves out without clearing their utility payments.
In today’s blog, we’ll walk you through all basics you should know regarding the laws for Florida security deposits.
Security Deposit Limit
Some states set limits for security deposits that landlords must not exceed when charging their tenants a security deposit. Florida, however, isn’t among such states, as there is no limit to what you can charge tenants.
It is still in your best interest to charge your tenants a reasonable amount. Among other things, this will ensure that your Florida property remains desirable in the eyes of prospective tenants.
And what exactly is a reasonable amount? This can be the equivalent of the rent of between one and two months.
In addition to the security deposits, landlords in Florida are allowed to charge a pet deposit. You can use the deposit to cover potential pet damage.
You should, however, exempt disabled tenants from paying an additional pet deposit. The Federal Fair Housing Act requires landlords to allow disabled tenants who have a service animal to use and enjoy their home just like other tenants. If a landlord fails to abide by the Fair Housing Act, they could face legal complications.
Security Deposit Storage
As a Florida landlord, you have three options when it comes to storing a tenant’s security deposit. The first option allows you to store it in a non-interest bearing account. This account must be in a financial institution located within Florida. In addition, you must ensure that you keep the funds separate from other funds.
The second option allows you to store your tenant’s deposit in an interest bearing account. Again, the account must be in a financial institution located in Florida. You must then pay the tenant the accrued interest every year or at the end of their lease.
Also, at your tenant’s request, you may also credit the interest in the form of rent.
Finally, you have the option of storing your tenant’s deposit as a surety bond. You must post it with a surety bond company in the same country as your rental property. You must pay your tenant an interest of 5 percent annually on the bond.
Security Deposit Receipt Requirement
Landlords in Florida must provide a tenant written notice once they have received their security deposit. You must do this no more than 30 days after receiving it. In the notice, you must let your tenant know of the following details.
- The Florida banking institution storing the deposit.
- The interest rate at which the funds are being held if you’re storing the deposit in an interest-bearing account.
Once you have included these details in the initial written notice, you must send it to the tenant via mail or deliver it in person.
You must repeat this process if you change the location of storage or change the way in which the deposit is being held.
Security Deposit Deductions
Landlords can make deductions to their tenant’s security deposit only in certain scenarios. The following are the allowable reasons for Florida landlords.
- Unpaid rent
- Monetary damage resulting from a tenant’s violation of the rental agreement
- Repairs for damage exceeding normal wear and tear
Security Deposit as Last Month’s Rent
Florida’s security deposit law states tenants aren’t usually allowed to use the deposit as last month’s rent. The only exception to this is if there is a clause in the lease agreement allowing it.
Security Deposit Return
If returning the deposit in full, then you must do so within a period of 15 days after the lease termination. You must also send any accrued interest from the deposit to the tenant.
If making deductions, then you must notify your tenant within a period of 30 days after the lease has been terminated. In the notice, you must notify the tenant about your intentions of keeping a portion of their deposit. If you fail to notify the tenant in writing within the 30-day window, you’ll forfeit your right to make any deduction.
After receiving the notice, the tenant can agree to the deductions or object to them. If they agree to the deductions, then you must send the portion of the deposit within 30 days. But if the tenant objects to the list of deductions, then the matter could go to court.
Sale of Rental Property
If the property ownership changes hands during a tenancy, you must transfer the deposit, or the remaining portion to the new property owner. You must also create a written receipt indicating the amount transferred.
After this, you’ll no longer have responsibility in regards to storing the funds on behalf of the tenant.
At Keyrenter Jacksonville, our goal is to simplify the experience for Florida landlords in Jacksonville. Among other things, we can help you market your property, screen prospective tenants, care for your tenant, and collect rent on your behalf. Get in touch to learn more!
Disclaimer: This content isn’t a substitute for professional legal advice from a qualified attorney. Also, laws change and this content may not be updated at the time that you’re reading. For questions regarding the security deposit law or the Florida landlord-tenant law, Keyrenter Jacksonville can help.