What Florida Landlords Need to Know About Security Deposit Regulations
As a landlord, you have a legal right to require that any and all prospective tenants put down a security deposit before moving into your property. However, this right is not completely unrestricted. Tenants have certain rights related to their security deposits as well. To ensure that commercial landlords in South Florida have a full understanding of the state’s security deposit rules, our West Palm Beach landlord rights lawyers have put together a list of the four things that all landlords should know before requiring a security deposit.
- The Maximum Allowable Limit
Under Florida’s security deposit statute (Section 83.49), there is no legal maximum limit on how much commercial landlords can charge for a security deposit. Ultimately, the decision on how high to make the deposit is a business decision that must be made by individual landlords. For the most part, it does not make financial sense for landlords to charge a security deposit higher than the value of one or two months’ worth of rent.
- How to Keep the Money Safe
Florida landlords have a legal obligation to keep a tenant’s security deposit safe until that deposit is either due back to the tenant or owed to the landlord. Funds put up by a tenant for the purposes of a security deposit should generally not be commingled with any other of the landlord’s funds. Further, should the deposit be placed in an interest-bearing account for safe-keeping, that interest is owed to the tenant.
- Written Notice of Receipt
Florida commercial landlords are legally required to notify their tenant, in writing, that the security deposit has been successfully received. This notice must be sent within 30 calendar days of the date that the money was received by the landlord. Further, the written notice must conform to certain legal requirements. Specifically, the security deposit notice should include each of the following things:
- The name and location of the financial institution where the money is being kept; and
- The type of account that the deposit is being held in, including whether or not interest will be paid.
Should a landlord move the security deposit to another account, for any reason, their tenant must be notified within 30 days of that transfer.
- When Can a Landlord Keep a Security Deposit
Whether or not a commercial landlord can keep a security deposit will depend entirely on the terms of their leases and the specific circumstances of the case at hand. In Florida, some common reasons why commercial landlords can legally keep all or part of a security deposit include:
- Unpaid rent;
- Damage to property, beyond ordinary wear and tear; and
- Other financially damaging violations of the lease.
Contact Our Florida Landlord Rights Attorneys Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, we have extensive experience representing the legal rights and business interests of commercial landlords. If you have any questions about security deposits, please do not hesitate to contact us today to set up a free review of your case. From our office in West Palm Beach and Miami, we represent landlords throughout South Florida, including in Homestead, Hollywood, Miramar and Pembroke Pines.