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TJ, Esq.
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I board horses in Florida. We charge a Damage Deposit for each

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I board horses in Florida. We charge a Damage Deposit for each horse.
My contract states the boarders must give a 30 day written notice to leave, which they did.

My contract also states if a horse leaves for training we must be given written notice (we weren't) if the horse returns the owner will be given a credit, equal to half of the board while they were gone. If the horse does not return no credit is given.

Here is my situation.....Owner's husband is an attorney, just appointed local judge!

On or around March 13, the horse was uncontrollable, bucked and reared up breaking boards in our Round Training Pen. I was never notified by the owner, but other boarders witnessed the commotion and contacted me.

The owner gave me written notice to leave dated March 15, 2011. Horse left March 17 with out written notice, was later told by owner the horse would return April 3, and then another boarder said April 9. On or around April 10 the owner came to the barn and said the horse may be back for a couple days. I asked why would she bring him here for a couple days then move him. This is not wise for horses to be moved around. We agreed that she would just move him to his new boarding stable.

Her written notice would have had them here until April 15, owing us for 15 days of board. She is now asking us for her full deposit. Stating Florida Law requires I am obligated to notify them within 15 days (I thought it was 30) of their departure to retain all or part of my deposit for repairs or unpaid monies.

I am still owed money for the 15 days of board. Is the Florida Law 15 days or 30 days? If it is 30 days, am I able to take the board money out of the deposit?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

The Florida Code does not address when security deposits must be returned with regard to non-residential rental agreements (incidentally, the law does require 30 days in residential agreements). I don't know why the judge told you 15 days, but that is incorrect. Since the law does not address the issue, the rental agreement would govern the issue. Typically, the rental agreement will state something like "A security deposit of $X shall be refunded to Owner within thirty (30) days of the date of completion of this Contract." If your own rental agreement is silent on the issue, then 30 days would certainly be permissible. Also, you may take the board money out of the deposit.

Have I satisfactorily addressed your concerns? If not, then feel free to let me know, as I will be happy to clarify my answer or help with your follow-up questions. In the meantime, please remember to click the green accept button so that I will receive credit and compensation for my time (doing so does not end our session). Positive feedback is always appreciated as well. Thank you and good luck!
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 9928
Experience: JD, MBA
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