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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 17432
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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Second opinion] - my previous landlord is trying to keep my

Customer Question

Second opinion] - Hi, my previous landlord is trying to keep my deposit because she didn't give me time to clean the stove, refrigerator, and mop. Florida law shows that it is normal wear and tear but she is tryinng to keep my deposit for that. I need to know what my rights are and how to proceed. I also took a video before I left the home.
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Florida
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: She tried to sue me before but I won the case because she was over charging me rent.
Submitted: 16 days ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 15 days ago.

Hello: This is Phillipsesq. Welcome to JustAnswer! I am reviewing your post, and I will post my response very shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 15 days ago.

Florida law requires the Landlord to send you a notice of the intent to retain the Security Deposit and you would have 15 days after the receipt of the notice to challenge the Landlord's intention to retain the Security Deposit. Otherwise, the Landlord would be prohibited from retaining any or all Security Deposit for failure to comply with the Statutes. See Florida Statutes Section 83.49(3) especially subsections (a) through (c). Emphasis added by me at the end of subsection (a):

(3)(a) Upon the vacating of the premises for termination of the lease, if the landlord does not intend to impose a claim on the security deposit, the landlord shall have 15 days to return the security deposit together with interest if otherwise required, or the landlord shall have 30 days to give the tenant written notice by certified mail to the tenant’s last known mailing address of his or her intention to impose a claim on the deposit and the reason for imposing the claim. The notice shall contain a statement in substantially the following form:

This is a notice of my intention to impose a claim for damages in the amount of ____ upon your security deposit, due to ____. It is sent to you as required by s. 83.49(3), Florida Statutes. You are hereby notified that you must object in writing to this deduction from your security deposit within 15 days from the time you receive this notice or I will be authorized to deduct my claim from your security deposit. Your objection must be sent to (landlord’s address).

If the landlord fails to give the required notice within the 30-day period, he or she forfeits the right to impose a claim upon the security deposit.

(b) Unless the tenant objects to the imposition of the landlord’s claim or the amount thereof within 15 days after receipt of the landlord’s notice of intention to impose a claim, the landlord may then deduct the amount of his or her claim and shall remit the balance of the deposit to the tenant within 30 days after the date of the notice of intention to impose a claim for damages.

(c) If either party institutes an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to adjudicate the party’s right to the security deposit, the prevailing party is entitled to receive his or her court costs plus a reasonable fee for his or her attorney. The court shall advance the cause on the calendar.

You can file a Small Claim at your local Courthouse for the return of the wrongfully retained Security Deposit. You can obtain complaint forms at the Courthouse in the Clerk's office.

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Thank you for your cooperation.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
On October 31st I moved out everything at around 4:30ish. I had to pick up my children so I left went to pick them up and then returned back to the home. Their school is 5minutes away. When I returned back to the home, the landlord was there and had all of the locks changed. We did a walk through, I asked her if anything was damaged on video and her response to me was the fridge and stove needed to be clean and for that she's keeping my deposit. I told her I will run to the store which is also 5 minutes away to get some cleaning supplies being that I removed everything out and she declined she told me she did not want me to ckean it. I told her I would like to clean it because I know that the cleaning of the fridge and stove is normal wear and tear, but to kill the confusion I will clean it. She said no and as soon as I walked over to do a video of the yard she locked the door so I couldn't enter when legally in our lease, my lease ends at 11:59pm that day and it was 5pm .
16 November 2016 11:17
Cleaning the stove $150
Cleaning fridge $150
Patio screen which the house doesn't even have a patio $160
Cleaing air filter $170
Door knob missing a screw $35
Broken kitchen panel that her husband broke when he took it down my first week there to change the long light bulb 3 @ $225 each
Dinning room light missing bulb $35
Mailbox Pole not stable which she knocked down $150
Bathroom missing 2 bulbs $45 eachThese are her damages she's claiming. I've rented many properties and never dealt with a landlord like this.The stove was new and the fridge I had to clean out.The issue with the stove is it just needed to wipe off, but because it was hot I couldn't do so, and with the fridge, it freezed everythig in the freezer and bottom are so I had to unplug it to defrost, I went to pick up my children at 4:45 and when I returned back to the house the locks were changed. My lease was to end on October 31 at 11:59pm, but she didn't allow me the time to clean when I told her I would many times. She only gave me 4 days to move and wasn't enough time, plus I'm a section 8 tenant and I passed my move out inspection.I forgot too also mention that the deposit was due back to me on 11/15/19, but she sent a letter on 11/14/16, so I haven't responded because really I don't know how to proceed. I understand that he claims are normal wear and tear as I was informed by section 8 Broward Public Housing, but I also read the Florida Statue Law on this issue.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 15 days ago.

You need to send a simple response that you object to the Landlord retaining the Security Deposit because the Landlord illegally locked you out preventing you to clean the Unit after you have moved your belongings. That you were in the process of moving everything out and then clean the place when the Landlord illegally entered, changed the locks and prevented you for tidying up the place after you moved your things out at 4:30 PM. That you still had until 11:59 PM to finish the cleaning. Also and more importantly, the cleaning was for normal wear and tear and you just wanted to tidy up the place. That you demand the full return of your Security Deposit. Otherwise, you would file a Small Claim for the return.

Kindly take a minute and use the popup screen to give a 5-star rating to my response so that I can receive proper credit for addressing your concerns. There is no additional cost to you for giving a 5-star rating.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Is there any particular form I should get to file the small claim?
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 15 days ago.

As previously stated, you need to obtain the Small Claims forms at your local Courthouse in the Clerk's office.

At this time, I request that you give a positive rating to my post. That's the way I get paid here for answering questions on the site.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Ok thank you.

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