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Evictions

Notice of intent to impose a claim on security deposit & requirements

click here to download Security deposit Form

SECURITY DEPOSIT DISPUTES

 

Florida law requires that if a landlord does not intend to impose any claim against a tenant’s security deposit the entire security deposit must be returned to the tenant within 15 days of the tenant vacating the rental unit.

 

If the landlord does intent to make a claim against the security deposit then the landlord must within 30 days of the tenant vacating the rental unit inform the tenant in writing of 1) the landlord intention to make a claim against the security deposit 2) the reason the claim is being made 3) inform the tenant that if the tenant does not agree the tenant must object in writing within 15 days of receiving the landlord’s notice and 4) provide the tenant an address where the tenant’s objection can be sent.

 

While the timing of the return of the security deposit and claim notice may seem confusing it can be put in simpler terms.  Once the tenant moves out, the landlord inspects the premises and if upon the inspection the landlord determines that the rented premises have been returned in satisfactory condition and the landlord will not make a claim against the security deposit then the landlord must return it to the tenant within 15 days of the tenant’s move-out date.  If however, upon the inspection the landlord determines that damage to the unit has been caused and a claim against the security deposit will be made, then the landlord must make repairs or at the very least have estimates prepared and provide notice to the tenant within 30days of the tenant’s move-out date.

 

Florida law requires that the notice to the tenant be sent via certified mail.  Even though the law has been interpreted by some courts not to necessarily require the notice being sent via certified mail it is always an excellent idea to do so.  Even if the landlord and tenant have a friendly and casual relationship and there appears to be some agreement as to needed repairs.  The landlord should always send out the required notice via certified mail or the landlord will lose the right to make the claim.   Landlord / tenant disputes largely revolve around notices and their delivery.

 

The items for which a landlord can make a claim for is a little trickier.  The law allows the landlord to make a claim for all damages with the exception of normal wear and tear.  Which begs the question, what is normal wear and tear?  The answer is: it depends! 

 

How to define normal wear and tear depends on how long the tenant lived in the rental unit and what item needs to needs to be repaired or replaced.  Example, a landlord installs new carpet in a unit and then rents it out to the same tenant for 10 years.  When the tenant vacates it very likely that the carpet will have to be replaced and this will likely be due to normal wear and tear.  The opposite would be; a landlord installs new carpet in a unit and rents it out the same tenant for a period of 6 months.  When the tenant vacates the carpet has holes and stains in it and must be replaced this is likely not normal wear and tear and a claim on the security deposit may be warranted.  Another example would be with appliances, a tenant lives in a unit for a year that has a 10 year old dishwasher, upon vacating the dishwasher needs repairs and the landlord decides to replace it.  Because of the age of the dishwasher it will probably be considered normal wear and tear.

 

NOTICE OF INTENT TO MAKE A CLAIM ON SECURITY DEPOSIT

 

                                                                        VIA CERTIFIED MAIL

Date ________________

 

Tenant:                                    _____________________

Current Address:          _____________________

                                    _____________________

 

 

NOTICE OF CLAIM AGAINST SECURITY DEPOSIT

Rental Property Address:         ____________________

                                                ____________________       

 

Accept this as notice of my intention to impose a claim for damages in the amount of $___________________ upon your security deposit because of:

 

(itemize damage done and cost)

 

DAMAGE                                                        COST

 

It is sent to you as required by §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 my address at _____________________________________________.

 

 

_______________________

Landlord

 

 

 

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