What to Do if My Landlord Refuses to Return a Security Deposit?
Most landlords require a security deposit in addition to the first month’s rent. While collecting a security deposit, which is a refundable sum of money, is standard practice when renting apartments, houses, or commercial properties in Florida, there are instances when landlords refuse to return a security deposit after a tenant moves out.
If your landlord is refusing to return a security deposit, contact a Bradenton landlord-tenant lawyer at Moran, Sanchy & Associates as soon as possible to help you get your money back.
Why do landlords require a security deposit?
A security deposit is a refundable sum of money, which is usually equal to one month’s rent, that is paid by a tenant when renting an apartment, house, office, building, or unit.
A landlord keeps the security deposit for the duration of the tenant’s lease term. After the tenant moves out, the landlord must return the security deposit.
Florida landlords require a security deposit to fix the damages caused by the tenant while occupying the rental property. A landlord can withhold a security deposit – either in part or in full – to pay for actual, material, or financial damages caused by the tenant. A landlord could also deduct funds from the tenant’s security deposit to clean the rental unit.
When your landlord wants to deduct any amount of money from your security deposit to repair or fix the rental property, you should contact an experienced landlord-tenant lawyer to determine if the deduction is justified.
When will your landlord return the security deposit?
Pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 83.49, landlords must return a security deposit after tenants move out. However, do not expect your landlord to return the money immediately after you move out.
Unless your landlord makes claims against the security deposit, they have 15 days to return the money. If the landlord wants to deduct any funds from the security deposit to fix the damages caused by the tenant, they must notify the tenant of their intention to make a claim against the security deposit within 30 days.
Can I return the security deposit if I move out before the end of the lease term?
Many tenants mistakenly believe that they will not be able to get back their security deposit if they move out before the expiration of the lease agreement.
Unless directed otherwise by the terms of the lease agreement, you must provide at least 7 days’ written notice of your intention to move out before the end of the lease term.
If you fail to notify your landlord of your intention to move out before the expiration of the lease term, your landlord will be relieved from the requirement to notify you of any claims against the security deposit.
However, you still have a right to get the security deposit back and sue the landlord if they refuse to return a security deposit. Filing a lawsuit against your landlord may be the only legal remedy if he or she refuses to return a security deposit.
Discuss your legal options with a skilled landlord-tenant attorney at Moran, Sanchy & Associates if your landlord does not want to return the security deposit. Call 941-366-1800 for a consultation.