• In Florida, rental agreements are regulated by Chapter 83 of theFlorida Statutes.– Areas of regulation include:• Security Deposit• Attorneys Fees/Costs• Required Terms of the Lease• Termination of Rental Leases• Conditions of Habitability• Retaliatory Conduct of the Landlord• Prohibited Lease Provisions
• Generally speaking, the actual terms of your rental agreement willdetermine the rights and duties of you and your landlord.• If you have a dispute with your landlord regarding any terms orconditions of your contract, you should speak with a licensed Floridaattorney about your legal rights and options.
If your landlord has withheld a security deposit during your tenancy, thefollowing regulations must be followed or your landlord forfeits their right tokeep that money.Don’t forget, the security deposit is YOUR MONEY, the landlord is simplyholding that money “in escrow” until the termination of your lease.The following are legal requirements in Florida surrounding your landlordtaking/return a security deposit:
• Landlord may not co-mingle security deposit with other monies; must bein separate account.• Landlord may not spend/replace the money; it must go untouched untilthey have a legitimate claim• Landlord must notify tenant in writing of the manner in which securitydeposit is being held within 30 days of receipt• Must be given in person or via mail• Must state the location of the money (name and address)• Must include copy of subsection 3 of Florida Statute 83.49, orsomething substantially similar stating:
• Upon tenant vacating premises b/c lease was terminated, landlord must returnsecurity deposit w/in 15 days if NOT imposing a claim, OR provide written noticeof claim w/in 30 days.– If imposing claim, written notice must:• Be send via certified mail to tenants last known mailing address• Include statement substantially similar to: “This is a notice of my intention to impose a claimfor damages in the amount of upon your security deposit, due to . It is sent to you as requiredby s. 83.49(3), Florida Statutes. You are hereby notified that you must object in writing to thisdeduction from your security deposit within 15 days from the time you receive this notice or Iwill be authorized to deduct my claim from your security deposit. Your objection must be sentto (landlord’s address).”– Failure to provide notice within 30 days = landlord forfeits right to impose aclaim• Landlord has no duty to provide such notice if the tenant vacates the property inviolation of the lease and doesn’t give written notice (certified mail or handdelivery) at least 7 days in advance, including the address where tenant can bereached.
• Upon receipt of landlords written notice of intent to impose claim, tenantmust object in writing within 15 days if there is a dispute• If tenant does not dispute landlord’s intent to impose a claim, landlord has30 days to return any balance that may be owed.• Landlord MAY NOT withhold any security deposit amounts for allegeddamages caused by “normal wear and tear” unless specifically permittedin the Lease. “Normal wear and tear” may include:
• Under Florida Statute Section 83.48:“In any civil action brought to enforce the provisions of the rentalagreement or this part, the party in whose favor a judgment or decree hasbeen rendered may recover reasonable court costs, including attorney’sfees, from the nonprevailing party.”
• Fading, peeling, or cracked paint• Slightly torn or faded wallpaper• Small chips in plaster• Nail holes, pin holes, or cracks in wall• Door sticking from humidity• Cracked window pane from faulty foundation or building settling• Floors needing coat of varnish• Carpet faded or worn thin from walking• Loose grouting and bathroom tiles• Worn or scratched enamel in old bathtubs, sinks, or toilets• Rusty shower rod• Partially clogged sinks caused by aging pipes• Dirty or faded lamp or window shades
Every rental contract is unique, and contains its own rules, conditions, duties,and rights which may or may not be enforceable under Florida Law. If youhave a concern that you are being wrongfully evicted, your landlord isviolating your lease agreement, your landlord is failing to make necessaryrepairs/maintenance, or your security deposit is being improperly withheld,speak with an attorney immediately about your rights; then YOU will have thepower!