Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Florida

according to florida law, can the landlord take out the expenses from the security deposit when the tennant leaves to paint the condo because there are excessive scuff marks and picture frame holes

Asked on 8/23/09, 12:47 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Sarah Grosse Sarah Grosse, Esquire

Yes, the LL may deduct the cost of repainting and spackling the walls from your security deposit. The LL must comply with the requirement of Florida Statutes for retaining any portion of your deposit, also giving you an opportunity to dispute the amount retained.

See the following from the helpful handbook located at

Section 83.49, F.S.

A landlord has the discretion to collect various deposits as well as some rent in advance. These advance payments generally vary in range. You should be careful about making any deposit unless a definite decision has been made to move into the unit. A tenant who puts down a deposit but then decides not to occupy the unit, MAY NOT be entitled to a refund. If a deposit is non-refundable it should be stated in the rental agreement.

A damage deposit is the most common requirement of landlords. At the time of the pre-rental walk-through with the landlord, you should make note of damaged items or areas, worn rugs, broken fixtures, etc. and give a copy to the landlord. Keep a copy for your files, which may help eliminate or minimize disputes later.

When you move out, the landlord must either return your deposit within 15 days of termination of the rental agreement, if the landlord does not intend to impose a claim upon the security deposit; or justify in writing by certified mail, to the tenant's last known mailing address within 30-days upon termination of a rental agreement, as to why they are keeping a portion of or all of the deposit. If the notice is not sent as required within the 30-day period, the landlord forfeits his/her right to impose a claim upon the deposit, unless you fail to give proper notice prior to vacating.

Section 83.49, 3(b)(c), F. S.

Unless you object to the imposition of the landlordís claim or the amount thereof within 15 days after receipt of the landlordís 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 you within 30 days after the date of the notice of intention to impose a claim for damages. If you object to the landlordís claim you may file a complaint with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services or institute an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to adjudicate the landlordís right to the security deposit.

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Answered on 8/25/09, 9:38 am

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