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Protecting Your Security Deposit

Many renters have waited anxiously for the return of their security deposit after completing a lease with a landlord. Sometimes, the renter does not receive the amount of the security deposit they expected and sometimes the renter does not receive their deposit at all. When this happens, you should speak to an experienced attorney who regularly handles landlord-tenant issues to discuss your options. In this article, we will discuss a few ways you can protect your security deposit in the first place and the potential solutions you and an attorney can pursue to get your deposit back.

What Are My Rights With Respect To The Return Of My Deposit?

One of the most important things to know with respect to what your rights are in this situation is to know what the law requires and allows. Here in florida, your landlord has up to 60 days to return your deposit after providing you with notice of any money they plan to withhold for various damages. This advance notice must have been provided in writing prior to the actual deduction of the damages from your deposit.

It is also important to know what your landlord is allowed to use your security deposit for. If you did not receive all of your security deposit, make sure that the deductions are taken for one of these reasons:

  1. Overdue rent. If you have any amount of unpaid rent by the time you leave, your security deposit will be used for that purpose. If you leave without giving proper notice, there may be some penalties associated with that.
  2. Utility charges. If you have failed to pay the total of your utility balance when you leave your apartment, your landlord may withhold a portion of your security deposit to resolve utility charges as well.
  3. Unit damage. In the event that your unit has significant damage (that means damage that goes beyond “ordinary wear and tear”) your landlord may use the security deposit to cover the costs to repair the damage. This applies regardless of whether you, a pet, or a guest caused the damage.
  4. Cleaning costs. If your unit requires additional cleaning to return it to the cleanliness it had when you first moved in, your landlord may deduct cleaning costs from your security deposit.
  5. Restoration costs. If you made changes to your apartment, your landlord may charge you for the removal of the changes you made in the apartment. For example, if you painted a wall and did not paint it back to the color it was before you left, your landlord may deduct the security deposit by the amount they had to pay to repaint the wall.

Let Our Attorneys Help You Today

The legal landscape surrounding landlord-tenant issues is not meant to be confusing or difficult for renters to access. In fact, knowing your rights when renting can only empower you. If your landlord is taking advantage of your security deposit and you live in Florida, Pike & Lustig, LLP will be your partner and help you retrieve your security deposit and any damages you suffer.

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