Most residential leases and rental agreements in Florida require a security deposit. This is a dollar amount, usually one month's rent, that's intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear, and to cushion the financial blow if a tenant skips out early on the lease without paying. Here’s a summary of Florida landlord-tenant laws that cover the use and return of security deposits.
Does Florida law limit how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit?
No. In Florida, there's no statutory limit on security deposits at the state level, but check your city and county laws to see if your municipality has set a cap on security deposits for residential rentals.
To learn more about steps that tenants can take to protect their security deposit after they've paid it, check out Nolo's article Protect Your Security Deposit When You Move In.
What about when a tenant moves out? What is the deadline in Florida for returning a security deposit?
Under Florida law, a landlord must return the tenant's security deposit within 15 to 60 days after the tenant has surrendered the rental property to the landlord (that is, returned the keys and vacated the property), depending on whether the tenant disputes any deductions taken out of the security deposit. Florida landlords must provide tenants advance notice of any deductions from the deposit.
Learn more about tenants' rights and landlords' obligations when it comes to the return of the security deposit in Nolo's chart Cleaning and Repairs a Landlord Can Deduct from a Security Deposit and Nolo's article Get Your Security Deposit Back.
Is there additional information that Florida landlords must provide to tenants when it comes to security deposits in Florida?
Yes. Landlords in Florida must, within 30 days of receiving a security deposit, disclose in writing
- whether the funds will be held in an interest- or non-interest bearing account
- the name of the account depository, and
- the rate and time of interest payments.
Landlords who collect a deposit must include a copy of Florida Statutes § 83.49(3) in the lease.
A Florida landlord who collects a deposit must also pay to the tenant any interest earned on the security deposit (annually and at the end of the tenancy), though no interest need be paid to a tenant who wrongfully terminates the lease early.
Where can I look up Florida law on security deposits?
If you want to go right to the source and look up Florida law on security deposits -- or if you're writing a letter to your landlord or tenant and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at Florida Statutes Annotated §§ 83.49 and 83.43 (12). Your city or county might have different landlord-tenant and security deposit laws than those at the state level in Florida. For tips on looking up Florida state and local laws, check out Nolo's State Laws & Legal Research section.
For useful information on tenant rights in Florida, see the tenant guides at
http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBConsum.nsf/0a92a6dc28e76ae58525700a005d0d53/e21a25a8c288bed98525740800537588!OpenDocument#RIGHTS%20AND%20DUTIES%20OF%20TENANTS and http://www.800helpfla.com/landlord_text.html.