Can A Landlord Deduct From A Security Deposit For Normal Wear And Tear?
Most landlords in Florida require tenants to pay a certain amount of money upfront before giving them keys to their rental apartment or house. That amount of money is called a security deposit.
Landlords can deduct certain amounts of money from a security deposit to compensate for the damages to the property caused by a tenant. But can landlords deduct from a security deposit for normal wear and tear?
That depends on the extent of the wear and tear. A landlord might be able to deduct money from a security deposit if the tenant caused excessive wear and tear.
Contact a Sarasota landlord-tenant lawyer if your landlord is trying to keep your security deposit for normal wear and tear.
What is Considered Normal Wear and Tear?
Normal wear and tear is defined as the deterioration that occurs in the course of living in a rental apartment or house. In other words, normal wear and tear is a decline in the condition of the property and its fixtures due to normal everyday use.
Because the deterioration is caused by “normal everyday use,” a landlord cannot deduct any amount of money from a tenant’s security deposit for wear and tear.
Under Florida law, “normal wear and tear” is not defined as damage to a property caused by a tenant. Common examples of normal wear and tear in a rental apartment or house are:
- Faded curtains due to sun exposure
- Holes in the walls from hanging mirrors and pictures
- Faded or dirty paint on the wall
- Damage to a carpet due to the passage of time
- Grease in a stove
- Rust in the oven or washing machine
- Leaky faucets
- Loose hinges
- Rusty tub or shower
- Faded window shades
In other words, any naturally occurring deterioration that is not caused by a tenant’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness is considered “normal tear and wear.”
When Can a Landlord Deduct from a Security Deposit for Normal Wear and Tear?
In some cases, landlords may be able to keep a tenant’s security deposit to pay for repairs or maintenance due to wear and tear.
Some lease agreements define what constitutes “normal wear and tear” differently. Review your lease and talk to a lawyer to determine if your landlord can deduct any amount of money from your security deposit for normal wear and tear.
In order to deduct from your security deposit, your landlord must prove that the damage to their property was “beyond normal wear and tear.” What counts as “beyond normal wear and tear” is a subjective matter.
Contact an experienced attorney if your landlord is refusing to return a security deposit. Under Fla. Stat. § 83.49, a landlord must return the entire sum of money held by them throughout the lease or rental agreement unless the tenant causes damage to the property or owes rent.
Speak with our Sarasota landlord-tenant attorneys at Moran, Sanchy & Associates if your landlord wants to deduct a sum of money from your security deposit due to wear and tear. Call 941-366-1800 to get a consultation.