As a Florida landlord, it’s crucial to understand your responsibilities when dealing with security deposits. Landlord-tenant law protects tenants in Florida and gives them certain rights that must be adhered to, including procedures for storing security deposits, valid reasons that landlords can take deductions, and how long a landlord has to return a security deposit. If you’re a landlord in Brevard County, Space Coast, Central Florida, or the surrounding area, here are some essential things you need to know about managing your tenant’s security deposits.
How Do You Store a Security Deposit in Florida?
Landlords in Florida have very strict guidelines on how they should store a tenant’s security deposit which include:
In a Non-Interest Bearing Account: One of the most common options, landlords can place their tenant’s security deposit in a non-interest-bearing bank account located in the state of Florida. In this instance, the money collected must not be mixed or “commingle” with any other unrelated funds or used before it is due to the landlord.
Interest Bearing Account: Another popular option is to hold the security deposit in an interest-bearing bank account located in the state of Florida. If you choose this option, you are required to pass any interest earned annually on to the tenant during and at the end of the lease. There are a few ways you can do this, including;
Paying the interest directly to the tenant or crediting the interest back to the tenant to help offset their rent.The landlord must never mix the security deposit funds with any other funds or use the money before it is legally due to them.
Importantly, if the tenant defaults on their lease agreement, the landlord is not due any interest.
Surety Bond: Alternatively, a landlord can post a surety bond for the exact amount of the security deposit (or $50,000, whichever is less.)
Is There a Security Deposit Limit in Florida?
No, Florida’s landlord-tenant laws do not stipulate a limit on the amount of security deposit a landlord can request. Although there is no official limit, a typical security deposit is not more than two months’ rent. This should cover the landlord against minor damage to their property and vacancy costs. In addition, wise landlords understand that excessive security deposits only serve to turn away prospective renters and unnecessarily decrease their potential rental pool.
Why You Should Use a Knowledgeable Property Management Company To Handle Your Tenants Security Deposits.
With so many landlord-tenant laws to adhere to, it can be challenging to stay on top of all your responsibilities. The tenant security deposit, in particular, can be a minefield, so it’s essential to seek advice from an experienced property management company that can help you navigate the process.
What If A Security Deposit Is Being Returned in Full?
Suppose you’re returning your tenant’s security deposit in full — congratulations! You must have had excellent tenants who left your property in great condition. In this case, you are expected to return the security deposit within 15 days of lease termination. This also includes any interest the tenant may have accrued on the security deposit throughout the lease.
What If Deductions Have Been Made From the Security Deposit?
In the event that you need to keep part or all of the tenant’s security deposit, you will have 30 days from the termination of the lease to let the tenant know in writing of your intentions. If you fail to notify the tenant in writing within 30 days, you will forfeit your right to retain any part of the security deposit. The written notice must clearly state your intention to keep a portion or all of the security deposit and state the reasons why.
Dealing With Tenant Security Deposits in Florida
Are you a landlord in Brevard County, Space Coast, or the surrounding area? If so, you can review Statute 83.49 twitch governs Florida tenant security deposits. Alternatively, for a more in-depth discussion about your needs and how Rent In Brevard Property Management can help you manage your rental portfolio, click here.