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Is It 15 Days or 60 Days? The One Thing That Changes How Quickly a Landlord Must Return a Tenant’s Security Deposit.

Posted by Jane F. Bolin, Esq. | Aug 23, 2017 | 0 Comments

Expect it in 15 days if you left the rental exactly how you found it.

Multiply times two. It's the general rule of thumb to figure out how much it's going to cost to rent. The majority of residential leases and rental agreements in Florida and elsewhere require a security deposit—which is generally equal to one month's rent.

Security deposits are intended to cover tenant damage that goes beyond normal wear and tear. It also can act as financial protection if a tenant fails to pay the rent. The money is returned at the end of the lease, but the amount of time the landlord has to return it can vary. Here's why.

15 to 60 days

That's the minimum/maximum range a landlord—under Florida law—can take to return a tenant's security deposit. The clock starts ticking when the tenant surrenders the rental property to the landlord. To be more specific—it means that the tenant has returned the keys and vacated the property. In a perfect world, that starts a 15-day countdown. If there are problems, it can take up to 60 days for you and at least a portion of your security deposit to be reunited. We'll start with the shortest time and move upward.

  • 15 Days: Congratulations, you're every landlord's dream. You both have toured the property and it's in great shape. The landlord can find nothing out of the realm of “normal wear and tear.” In such cases, the landlord has—under Florida State law—just 15 days to return the security deposit, along with interest.
  • 30 Days: If during the inspection of the vacated property the landlord determines that there is damage beyond normal wear and tear, they have 30 days to give the you written notice. It must be sent by certified mail to your last known mailing address. The letter must follow a format that outlines the landlord's intention to impose a claim on the deposit, as well as the reason for the claim. This would typically be the charge for repairs or cleaning necessary to restore the rental to its condition at the beginning of the tenancy.If the landlord doesn't make this required written notice within the 30-day period, they forfeit the right to make any claim against your security deposit at all. The landlord can seek damages. It just can't be withheld from the security deposit.
  • 60 Days: You have up to 15 days to object to the landlord's claim or the amount they plan to withhold. Otherwise, the landlord has 30 days from the date of the notice to deduct that amount from the security deposit and return the remainder to you.

This is the law

You should make sure you know and understand all of the statutes If you're an owner in Florida planning to rent or lease property. Above and beyond the responsibilities of returning the security deposit within 15 to 60 days, you also must hold the total amount in a separate non-interest-bearing account in a Florida banking institution.

At least 75% of the security deposit must earn an annual simple interest rate of 5%. This, and more information for both landlords and tenants, is available as Florida Statutes Annotated § § 83.49 and 83.43 (12).

About the Author

Jane F. Bolin, Esq.

Founding Member, Managing Partner


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