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Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 53715
Experience:  32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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My tenant keeps asking for the security deposit but I had to

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My tenant keeps asking for the security deposit but I had to do repairs to the home that go over the balance amount. Do I have to give him the money back?
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good evening. You can retain any or all of the security deposit needed to repair damages caused by the tenant as long as you comply with the applicable sections 83.49 (3), (4) and (5) of Florida landlord tenants statute which I have set forth below. You will want to pay particular attention to subparagraph (5) if the tenant never provided you the requisite notice.

"(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.
(d) Compliance with this section by an individual or business entity authorized to conduct business in this state, including Florida-licensed real estate brokers and sales associates, shall constitute compliance with all other relevant Florida Statutes pertaining to security deposits held pursuant to a rental agreement or other landlord-tenant relationship. Enforcement personnel shall look solely to this section to determine compliance. This section prevails over any conflicting provisions in chapter 475 and in other sections of the Florida Statutes, and shall operate to permit licensed real estate brokers to disburse security deposits and deposit money without having to comply with the notice and settlement procedures contained in s. 475.25(1)(d).
(4) The provisions of this section do not apply to transient rentals by hotels or motels as defined in chapter 509; nor do they apply in those instances in which the amount of rent or deposit, or both, is regulated by law or by rules or regulations of a public body, including public housing authorities and federally administered or regulated housing programs including s. 202, s. 221(d)(3) and (4), s. 236, or s. 8 of the National Housing Act, as amended, other than for rent stabilization. With the exception of subsections (3), (5), and (6), this section is not applicable to housing authorities or public housing agencies created pursuant to chapter 421 or other statutes.
(5) Except when otherwise provided by the terms of a written lease, any tenant who vacates or abandons the premises prior to the expiration of the term specified in the written lease, or any tenant who vacates or abandons premises which are the subject of a tenancy from week to week, month to month, quarter to quarter, or year to year, shall give at least 7 days’ written notice by certified mail or personal delivery to the landlord prior to vacating or abandoning the premises which notice shall include the address where the tenant may be reached. Failure to give such notice shall relieve the landlord of the notice requirement of paragraph (3)(a) but shall not waive any right the tenant may have to the security deposit or any part of it."

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So if I didn't receive a written notice I can retain the deposit because I didn't have to give him notice of retention of the deposit?

Thanks for your reply. The lack of notice puts the burden back on the tenant to prove an entitlement to the security deposit. The last sentence of subparagraph (5) provides "Failure to give such notice shall relieve the landlord of the notice requirement of paragraph (3)(a) but shall not waive any right the tenant may have to the security deposit or any part of it." So, the tenant could still bring a claim for the security deposit in which case you would have to document the damages which resulted in the retention of the deposit.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The tenant is treating me to take me to small claim court. Should I send him copies of the invoice and retain the deposit or what?

Thanks. You can either provide him the substantiation of why you retained the deposit prior to the hearing date or you can provide it at the hearing. As long as you can substantiate the cost of repairing the damages caused by tenant, you'll easily prevail at the hearing.
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