A security deposit in Florida means any money held by the landlord as security for the performance of the rental agreement1. This can include coverage of money lost by the landlord as a result of the tenant's failure to comply with the lease agreement. Florida laws explicitly allow landlords and their agents to use deposits as a form of advance rent - which means any amount of money paid to the landlord that will be applied to future rent payments. Advance rent payments can't be applied to the current period but must be reserved for future rent payments.
The security deposit is one type of deposit that can be held by a landlord in Florida. Other types of deposits include damage deposits, advance rent deposits, or pet deposits.
How to store a deposit
Florida statute 83.49 2 requires security deposits be held in a separate bank account in the state of Florida.
If you keep the deposit in a bank account that accrues interest, the interest must be returned to the subtenant when you return the security deposit. The amount of interest can be either a minimum of 75 percent of the annualized average interest rate payable on the account or 5 percent per year. Many people choose to keep security deposits in a separate bank account specifically for that purpose.
After receiving the deposit, landlords with more than five units must disclose information about the deposit to the tenant within 30 days. This can be done in the lease agreement.
Changes to storage location
Landlords with more than five rental units have to send notice to tenants if they change the location of the security deposit. This notice needs to be sent within 30 days of making the change. The written notice must:
Be given in person or by mail to the tenant.
State the name and address of the depository where the advance rent or security deposit is being held or state that the landlord has posted a surety bond as provided by law.
State whether the tenant is entitled to interest on the deposit.
Contain the following disclosure:
YOUR LEASE REQUIRES PAYMENT OF CERTAIN DEPOSITS. THE LANDLORD MAY TRANSFER ADVANCE RENTS TO THE LANDLORD’S ACCOUNT AS THEY ARE DUE AND WITHOUT NOTICE. WHEN YOU MOVE OUT, YOU MUST GIVE THE LANDLORD YOUR NEW ADDRESS SO THAT THE LANDLORD CAN SEND YOU NOTICES REGARDING YOUR DEPOSIT. THE LANDLORD MUST MAIL YOU NOTICE, WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER YOU MOVE OUT, OF THE LANDLORD’S INTENT TO IMPOSE A CLAIM AGAINST THE DEPOSIT. IF YOU DO NOT REPLY TO THE LANDLORD STATING YOUR OBJECTION TO THE CLAIM WITHIN 15 DAYS AFTER RECEIPT OF THE LANDLORD’S NOTICE, THE LANDLORD WILL COLLECT THE CLAIM AND MUST MAIL YOU THE REMAINING DEPOSIT, IF ANY.
IF THE LANDLORD FAILS TO TIMELY MAIL YOU NOTICE,THE LANDLORD MUST RETURN THE DEPOSIT BUT MAY LATER FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST YOU FOR DAMAGES. IF YOU FAIL TO TIMELY OBJECT TO A CLAIM, THE LANDLORD MAY COLLECT FROM THE DEPOSIT, BUT YOU MAY LATER FILE A LAWSUIT CLAIMING A REFUND.
YOU SHOULD ATTEMPT TO INFORMALLY RESOLVE ANY DISPUTE BEFORE FILING A LAWSUIT. GENERALLY, THE PARTY IN WHOSE FAVOR A JUDGMENT IS RENDERED WILL BE AWARDED COSTS AND ATTORNEY FEES PAYABLE BY THE LOSING PARTY.
THIS DISCLOSURE IS BASIC. PLEASE REFER TO PART II OF CHAPTER 83, FLORIDA STATUTES, TO DETERMINE YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS.
How to use the deposit
The deposit can be used for advance rent payment or to cover the cost of damages to the unit beyond normal wear and tear. The landlord or property manager can transfer the amount of the advance rent to the landlord's account without notifying the tenant.
In order to withhold some or all of the security deposit, written notice must be sent to the tenant within 30 days of the end of the sublease agreement. Here's what the notice needs to look like:
This is a notice of my intention to impose a claim for damages in the amount of [amount] upon your security deposit, due to [reason]. It is sent to you as required by s. 83.49(3), Florida Statutes. You are hereby notified that you must object in writing to this deduction from your security deposit within 15 days from the time you receive this notice or I will be authorized to deduct my claim from your security deposit. Your objection must be sent to [landlord’s address].
Unless the tenant objects to the landlord’s claim 15 days after receipt of the landlord’s notice of intention to impose a claim, the landlord may then deduct the amount of his or her claim and shall remit the balance of the deposit to the tenant within 30 days after the date of the notice of intention to impose a claim for damages.
How to return the deposit
The deposit must be returned - along with interest payments if applicable - within 15 days of the end of the lease term if it is being returned in full.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.