As a landlord in Florida, you have a right under landlord-tenant law to charge your tenant a security deposit. However, it is crucial that you understand the security deposit laws to ensure that you navigate the process fairly and legally.
Generally, a security deposit is used in the case that a tenant:
- Breaks their lease early for legally unjustified reasons.
- Fails to pay rent as agreed in the lease or rental agreement.
- Fails to pay for utilities, such as water and electricity bills at the time they are moving out.
- Causes a lease violation that ends up costing you financially, such as the tenant causing excessive property damage.
Familiarizing yourself with Florida’s security deposit law can be daunting. Thankfully, the team here at Out Fast Property Management has a provided the ultimate guide for you below.
What Is the Maximum Amount for a Security Deposit That a Landlord Can Charge in Florida?
In Florida, there is no statutory limit on the amount a landlord can charge for a security deposit. However, it should be a reasonable amount and should be stated in the lease. Usually, most landlords will charge tenants the equivalent of 2 months’ rent as a deposit.
This means that if you charge a monthly rent of $2,000, the security deposit amount would be $4,000.
While you may be able to charge more, keep in mind that this could deter any prospective renters. This could then lead to high vacancy rates.
Can Landlords Charge an Additional Pet Deposit in Florida?
Yes! If you allow pets into your property, you are able to charge the tenant an additional deposit.
While there is no cap to how much you can charge, the typical range is anywhere between $200 and $500. And unlike the typical security deposit, this fee is normally nonrefundable. It’s best to state these rules in your lease for clarity.
Please note, however, that a landlord cannot charge renters a fee for having a service dog. This is because disability is a protected class under the Florida Fair Housing Laws.
How Must Landlords Store Their Tenants’ Security Deposits in Florida?
Florida landlords have three options when it comes to storing their tenants’ security deposits. The first option you have is to store the security deposit in a non-interest-bearing account. The account must be in a Florida financial institution.
The second option you have is to store the tenant’s security deposit in an interest-bearing account. With this option, you’ll need to pay the tenant interest on an annual basis. You can pay it directly to the tenant or credit it back to them as a rent payment.
The other option for storing your tenant’s deposit is by posting a surety bond. The amount you post must be for the exact amount of the security deposit. You must also pay the tenant 5% annual interest on the bond.
Are Landlords in Florida Required to Provide Renters With a Security Deposit Receipt?
Yes, you’re required to do so. After receiving the deposit, you must notify your tenant of its receipt within 30 days. The following is some information that you must include in the receipt.
- Name and address of the financial institution holding the tenant’s deposit.
- How you’re storing the tenant’s deposit.
- The rate of interest the funds are earning on an annual basis.
- The manner in which the notice was delivered.
If you change the manner in which you’re storing the deposit, you must again notify the tenant of the new details.
In What Circumstances Can a Landlord Make Deductions to a Tenant’s Security Deposit?
A landlord can make deductions to a tenant’s security deposit if they fail to pay rent at the time of leaving. You can also make deductions for any damages that exceed normal wear and tear.
Do Tenants in Florida Have a Right to a Walk-Through Inspection?
Walk-through inspections help to document the property’s condition before a tenant moves out. If any damage is found, the tenant gets an opportunity to fix it prior to leaving. If they do not, then the amount of the repairs will be taken out of the security deposit.
In some states, renters have a right to be present during a walk-through inspection. Florida, however, isn’t among these states. However, we recommend you carry one out anyway and follow a walk-through checklist, as this will better protect you and your investment.
When Must Landlords in Florida Return Their Tenant’s Security Deposits?
If returning the entire security deposit, you’ll have a maximum of 15 days to do so. You must send the tenant written notice and include any interest earned together with the security deposit you’re returning.
If you’ve made deductions, then you’ll have 30 days to notify the tenant of your intentions to keep a portion of their deposit. The notice must be in writing. If the lanldord fails to notify the tenant, you’ll forfeit your right to make any deductions.
If the tenant objects to these deductions, you may need to seek a court solution. If they don’t, then you’ll have 30 days of the initial written notice to send the portion to the tenant.
What Must You Do if You Sell the Property?
You must transfer the security deposit (or whatever amount remains) plus any interest accrued to the new landlord. This will then relieve you of any responsibility for holding the tenant’s security deposit.
Knowing the Florida security deposit laws is key to running a profitable rental property. If you have any questions or need expert help in managing your Tampa rental property, Out Fast Property Management can help!
Whether you need help filling vacancies, collecting rent, maintaining your property, evicting a tenant, or generating detailed reports every month, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch to learn more!
Disclaimer: This blog isn’t intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Laws change and this information may become obsolete at the time you read it. For further help, please get in touch with a qualified attorney or an experienced property management company.