We are Canadians and go to St-Petersburg Florida every winter. We cancelled our booking for Jnuary, February and March 2013 due to a dispute abot bleach in the washer. The e-mail sent by the landlord, who lives in Ireland we found insulting. There were 2 more tenants after us and he asked us if we had used bleach in the washer. Long story short we tiold him we were insulted and said we will nor book for 2013 and we want our $1000 booking deposit back. He said that "I am sure you understand that booking deposits are there to protect owners in the event of renters canceling. You decided to cancel your booking leaving us with no income for Jan-March. The deposit is there to cover part of that loss so I'm sorry but no refund is due.". We know that he is booked for February, March and April- thru an e-mail sent by my son-in-law asking if the condo was free. He said it was booked for those months. My daughter sent a 2nd e-mail asking if the condo was available for Dec 2012 to April 2013. He
State/Country relating to question: Florida
we ahve sent 2 e-mails asking for our deposit back. He has refused
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. I would be happy to help you with your question.
To answer your question........In the case of a renter refusing to perform his/her side of a rental contract a landlord may retain any deposit to cover any potential damages according to the terms of the agreement. However, the landlord is also under a continuing duty to try to minimize damages by replacing the renters. In the situation you mention, the bookings are for a period more than 6 months away and 2 of the 3 months have already been booked. The landlord is unable to withhold any more from the deposit than is necessary to cover the damages.
In addition, he must under a duty of good faith, continue to search for a renter to fill the vacancy and minimize damages.
Depending on how much the place typically rents for, there may or may not be a need to retain a deposit for damages.
Good Luck and please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for using JustAnswer and please remember to click ACCEPT if you are satisfied with my answer so that I may receive credit for my answer. Thanks again and good luck.
It appears you are having trouble responding. i will switch to Q and A mode so that you may respond. Thanks again and good luck.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information. What happens now? If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.
Please remember to click ACCEPT if you are satisfied so that I may receive credit for my answer. In additon, please feel free to follow up so that I may help you with any additional follow up questions.
I wish you would read my other comments. I have tried to send it 5 times! We have no legal contract only e-mail agreement to pay $11,00 for 3 months plus send ladlord a $1000 deposit which we sent in Ap2012. We know that the condo is rented Dec2012 to Apr 2013, So he has his money and more! Please look at the coments and these and reply!!
To answer your question futher..........Florida Landlord Tenant law is governed by Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes. Section 83.49 governs security deposits and can be found in full here:
Upon a reading of the statute you will see..........................Section 3(a) allows a landlord to impose a claim upon the tenants security deposit within 30 days of the tenant vacating the property, there are specific requirements for the notice (it must include the reason for the imposition of a claim), and the tenant then has 15 days to dispute. In the fact pattern above, the lease has not yet commenced and the landlord is claiming a right to retain the security deposit (which was never intended for that purpose). The written contract does not state any liquidated damages clause in the case of a breach and therefore the only right the landlord would have is a breach of contract action claiming damages. However, this does not give a landlord an automatic right to retain a security deposit (meant to secure future rent payment).
In addition, here are some important provisions from the statute:
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.
AS YOU CAN SEE ABOVE IF THE LANDLORD FAILS TO IMPOSE A CLAIM WITHIN THE 30 DAY WINDOW OR DOES NOT PROVIDE PROPER NOTICE, THE LANDLORD MAY NOT MAKE ANY CLAIM. In addition, either party may be held responsible for attorney's fees.
The $1000 was a booking deposit or advance rent, not for a security deposit. Does the 30 day notice in 3a also apply to advance rent. The section is dedicated to security deposits only.
I have seen these pages on Fla statutes before I consulted you and did not think any sectipon applied to advance rent.
Your reference to section 3a of Florida statures section 83.49 applies to a security deposit. Our $1000 deposit was for advance rent. Does the section 3a also apply to advance rent? I have seen the fla statutes page before but there was no reference to return of advance rent, only where $$ should be held. My only recourse as I see it is that the condo is rented for 5 months and thus there are "no damages". please advise
This section 83.49 does apply to advance rent and as a matter of fact is entitled:
83.49 Deposit money or advance rent; duty of landlord and tenant.-
Here is a link to the text:
Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thanks again and I look forward to helping you in the future.
This section does apply to security deposits and advance rent, but you are correct as it only mentions procedures in case of a claim on a security deposit. However, the purpose of a security deposit is two fold.......to protect a landlord from a client damaging the premises and to secure advance payment of rent. Therefore, this section would seem to apply. In a situation where there are not clearly written terms for a rental contract and there is no liquidated damages clause (stating that the landlord keeps the deposit money if a tenant fails to follow through)............the landlord would have two options.........either claim this was a security deposit for advance rent and make a claim in accordance with the above statute, or sue for damages as a breach of contract action. Either way, it would appear the landlord needs to prove damages and has a duty to mitigate any potential damage. In addition, a landlord must comply with the statute if claiming this was a security deposit and failure to do so can bar any claim.
Owner of a law firm which handles real estate transactions.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).