Document Existing Conditions
A damage deposit is the most common requirement of landlords. Before signing a rental agreement, examine the premises and make note of any damaged items (for example, broken fixtures) and, if possible, take a picture or video and include a date stamp. Give a copy to the landlord and keep a copy for your files. This may help eliminate or minimize disputes later.
Upon Termination of the Lease
On vacating the premises for termination of the lease:
- If the landlord does not intend to impose a claim on the security deposit, he or she must return your deposit within 15 days. Or, within 30 days, the landlord must give you written notice of how much of the deposit will be kept and why. This must be done by certified mail to the tenant's last known mailing address. If this notice is not sent as required within the 30-day period, the landlord forfeits the right to impose a claim on the deposit.
- After receiving the landlord’s notice of intention to impose a claim, you will have 15 days to object in writing. If no written objection is received, 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 landlord’s claim, you may file a complaint with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services or institute an action in court to adjudicate the landlord’s right to the security deposit.