Tenant & Landlord Laws on Deposit Returns in Florida

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    Notice

    • At the end of the lease, the landlord usually does a walk-through of the apartment. This can be done either within the last few days of the lease or after the lease is expired. Pursuant to Florida law, if the landlord does not intend to withhold any of the money for damages, the money must be returned within 15 days. If, on the other hand, the landlord intends to withhold money, the notice must be given within 30 days.

    Tenant's Turn

    • If the landlord notifies the tenant that money is to be withheld from the deposit, the tenant has 15 days to respond and object. If the tenant does not respond within the allotted time, the tenant gives up the right to dispute the retention from the deposit check. If the tenant does not object, the landlord has 30 days from the original "notice of intent to retain money" to deduct the amount from the total and return the balance to the tenant.

    Tenant Leaves Early

    • If, during the course of the tenancy, the tenant decide to leave the premises early and without notice, the rules change somewhat. The security deposit cannot be used to cover a last month of rent. If a tenant leaves without paying, the tenant will still owe that amount. In terms of the landlord, the duty to notify the tenant of an intent to retain the deposit is extinguished. However, the right of the tenant to the deposit still exists.

    If Tenant Stays

    • If the tenant decides to renew the lease, any retained security deposit will move forward to the new lease, and all rights and responsibilities will attach as if it is a new deposit. Further, if the landlord changes, the old landlord has to transfer all monies held in trust to the new landlord. The legal rights and responsibilities of the parties will not change even if the parties themselves change.

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