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Landlord / Tenant Lease Agreement issues in Key West and the Florida Keys: What about the tenant’s security deposit?

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Landlord / Tenant Lease Agreement issues in Key West and the Florida Keys: What about the tenant’s security deposit?

Oftentimes, I have both landlords and tenants that contact me regarding the security deposit associated with a residential lease contract. At first blush, a landlord may think that he or she can simply keep the tenant’s security deposit if the tenant vacated the premises without paying the final month of rent or damages the premises. I mean, after all, it seems fair and equitable right? Wrong! Even though your lease agreement may include a provision that forfeits the tenant’s security deposit in the event of a breach of the lease contract, you still must provide written notice to the tenant of your intent to retain the security deposit as per the contract.

Florida Statute, 83.49(3)(a) states as follows:

“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.”

However, in the event that the landlord fails to give the required notice to the tenant within the 30 day period, the landlord forfeits his or her right to impose a claim upon the security deposit. Keep in mind that this is scratching the surface of the various aspects of Florida law governing residential lease agreements.

Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at Hutchison & Tubiana, P.L.L.C.