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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
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Experience:  16 yrs. of trial experience
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Landlord Tenant, Florida. The Security Deposit Settlement Statement

Resolved Question:

Landlord Tenant, Florida.
The Security Deposit Settlement Statement (SDSS)has been sent with the paragraph stating the tenant has 15 days to contest / object in writing to the SDSS. Question. Should a Tenant object to the SDSS, how long do they have to file in court? The only thing I have found has been 5 years, yet a Contractor lien is only one year. If the tenant has 5 years to file/ sue then that ties up the security deposit for 5 years.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 3 years ago.

psimmons :

Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

psimmons :

FL has 3 separate "statutes of limitation" that can come into play here

psimmons :

There is a 5 year statute on a written contract

psimmons :

a 4 year on an oral contract

psimmons :

and a contractor has 45 days to file a lien

psimmons :

not sure what you mean by 1 year for a contractor to sue...since the law is the same for all contracts in FL

Customer :

I was just pointing out that if a Contractor puts a lien on a property for non-payment they must file for a court date in 12 months. I was just wondering why a former tenant can object to a Security Deposit Statement, yet looks like they have 5 years before they must file. If they have 5 years than the security deposit is tied up and Landlord can not apply it to the damages to the property.

psimmons :

Understand...to answer the question, that is how the legislature set up the law. The state legislature is the group that makes the law...and in this case, they set the statute of limitations at 5 years on a written contract. While the law can limit how a lien placed by a contract must be processed, that will not prevent the contractor from filing suit under contract law. In other words, if the contractor files a lien but does not sue in the required time, the lien will be removed but the contractor still has the entire 4 -5 years (depending on the type of contract) to sue.

Customer :

I am a landlord. So that means that if a Tenant objects to the Settlement statement I am not only out the (in this case) the $700.00 over the deposit in damages, but I am out the actual security deposit itself.

Customer :

Any way around the 5 years?

psimmons :

No, your not "out" unless or until court rules so.

psimmons :

The statute of limitations is set up for just this reason

psimmons :

it limits the time that a claim can be filed.

psimmons :

so the "glass half full" way to look at this is that if they do not file in 5 years they loose

psimmons :

but you have no obligation to "reserve" that money

psimmons :

they only way they can force payment is if they can prove you owe it to them in a court of law

Customer :

Thank you! you have answered my question. "under no obligation to reserve the deposit" that I have imposed a claim against. That was what I as concerned about, did I have to "hold" this money for 5 years. Thank you again. My husband doesn't think they will object b/c I had to put no trespassing orders on them a month ago for showing up at my house and cussing me out in my front yard b/c they didn't like the copy of the inspection they just received. How dare I charge them for tearing up my property and for additional rent b/c the their stuff was still in the house past their move out date ( and paid rent).

psimmons :

Yea, that is the balance you need to weigh.

psimmons :

in other words....

psimmons :

you can "bank the money"....put it aside

psimmons :

since if you had to pay, it would be there...

psimmons :

and some folks I suspect do just that

psimmons :

but there is no law that requires this

psimmons :

so the folks who do would do so out of their own sense of caution...

psimmons :

or perhaps not understanding the law

psimmons :

but as I said, the law will not require you to hold this money...only pay it if ordered

psimmons :

but if you do not owe it in the first place, then its not likely they can get a court to order it

Customer :

Thanks. School teacher, and my students are back in the room. Got to go ;-)

psimmons :




Please let me know if you have further questions; if so I will do my best to answer them. If not please hit the accept button, its the only way I get credit for my work.




P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 26328
Experience: 16 yrs. of trial experience
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