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Landlord/Tenant Issues

 Oral leases are subject to misunderstandings and are more difficult to enforce. Know the difference between a Security Deposit and an Administrative Fee or Processing Fee. Florida Statute Chapter 83 provides for the return of security deposits whereas administrative fees and processing fees are not the same as deposits and are generally not refundable in Florida.

The following landlord/tenant information is provided to answer many of the questions frequently asked regarding Florida landlord tenant rental relationships, according to Florida’s Landlord Tenant Law (Chapter 83, Part II).

FLORIDA SECURITY DEPOSIT (Florida Statute 83, Sec 83.49)
As in all cases, always take a last walk-through with the landlord before you vacate the rental dwelling! Note any damages in writing and reach a final agreement concerning any financial penalties which may occur or that may jeopardize the status of your security deposit return. See Guide on Normal Wear and Tear.

When you move in and out
Take pictures – use a disposable or video camera. Pictures are worth a thousand words and therefore, dollars. Sign and date the pictures and save them in case your landlord does not return your security deposit.

The average cost to clean an average apartment is $135 for the full job. If you do not have time, consider hiring a cleaning service. Normal Wear and Tear may include things such as faded paint – you yourself did not cause the paint to fade, thus you would not be responsible if and when the landlord decides to repaint. Damages are actual things in the apartment that you or your guests actually break – such as a window or a hole in the wall.

Upon the vacating of the premises for termination of the lease, if the landlord does not intend to impose a claim on the security deposit, the landlord shall have 15 days to return the security deposit together with interest if otherwise required, or the landlord shall have 30 days to give the tenant written notice by certified mail to the tenant’s last known mailing address of his or her intention to impose a claim on the deposit and the reason for imposing the claim. The tenant is required to give the landlord a valid address at which the tenant can be contacted.

If the landlord fails to give the required notice within the 30-day period, he or she forfeits the right to impose a claim upon the security deposit.

Unless the tenant objects to the imposition of the landlord’s claim or the amount thereof within 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.

If either party institutes an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to adjudicate the party’s right to the security deposit, the prevailing party is entitled to receive his or her court costs plus a reasonable fee for his or her attorney. The court shall advance the cause on the calendar.

WHEN YOU DECIDE TO MOVE

  • You must give the required notice! Be sure to check your lease agreement and the Florida Statute 83 for the specific time period that is required for appropriate notification to terminate the Florida lease.
  • If a specific time period is not included in your lease agreement, the table below indicates an appropriate notification time period to provide written notice in Florida:
    • When the tenancy is from year to year, by giving not less than 60 days’ notice prior to the end of any annual period;
    • When the tenancy is from quarter to quarter, by giving not less than 30 days’ notice prior to the end of any quarterly period;
    • When the tenancy is from month to month, by giving not less than 15 days’ notice prior to the end of any monthly period; and
    • When the tenancy is from week to week, by giving not less than 7 days’ notice prior to the end of any weekly period.
  • Send all correspondence relating to your intention to move to the landlord by certified mail (return receipt requested) or deliver it by hand and insist on a receipt.
  • It is a good idea to talk with the landlord in person, if you must cancel a lease before its expiration date, perhaps the landlord will accept your security deposit as your total financial obligation. If so, be sure to obtain a signed agreement to this effect from the landlord.
  • One of your most important responsibilities as a tenant is to leave the premises in clean condition for the next occupant.
  • Take a last walk-through with the landlord before you vacate the premises and note any damages in writing and reach a final agreement concerning any financial penalties that may occur.
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