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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 20357
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. experience with Real Estate
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I am a landlord. My tennant damaged my property in Miami,

Customer Question

I am a landlord. My tennant damaged my property in Miami, Florida.
After the tennant moved, I kept some of the deposit moneys to cover loses and damages.
The tennant's attorney sent me this demand letter:
Please be advised that my law firm represents Ms. Y anet Frias, the former tenant of the residence located at _____________, Miami, Florida 33155. I am in receipt of your correspondence wherein you apparently have already decided, in contrast to Florida Statute 83.49, to deduct funds from my client's security deposit. Please note that your deduction of funds without complying with Florida Statute 83.49 entitles my client to the full return of the security deposit, as well as all attorney's fees incurred.
Pursuant to Florida Statutes 83.49(3), this letter shall serve as Ms Frias' formal objection to any and all claims for damages imposed by you upon my client's Security Deposit. Accordingly, demand is hereby made for you to return the entire security deposit in the amount of $1,750.00 to my office by no later than June 17, 2015.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, my client maintains that she did not cause any damages to the demised premises and should there be any claim otherwise, any such damages pre-existed my client's tenancy. As you are well aware, Ms. Frias only occupied the premises for a one year period and when she took possession in June 2014, the condition of the floor, to which you claim was subsequently damaged, was in a much worse condition than when returned on the day Ms. Frias vacated the premises.
As to your wrongful claim from the security deposit for "reduction of life of the [ale] unit'', you cannot possibly justify same. In fact, my client had to pay out of her own pocket to clean the air conditioning conduits due to the conduits' filthy condition at the lease inception. Your additional claims for deduction from the security deposit appear to be nothing more than weak attempts to retain money for nominal wear and tear items which are exempt from a claim against the security deposit.
Please be advised that my client has multiple photographs evidencing the condition of the
premises on both the lease inception date and on the lease termination date. Further, the realtor who handled the walk-through at the end of the lease can verify that the condition of the property was practically perfect on the date the premises were surrendered to you.
Additionally, during the entire tenancy, you parked a vehicle at the premises without
compensating my client for any rent associated with your use of the premises while Ms. Frias was a tenant. Should this matter advance to a point where litigation becomes necessary, my client will certainly demand payment for the foregoing based upon reasonable market rent.
Failure to remit the security deposit in full to my office on or before Wednesday, June 17, 2015 will result in the institution of legal proceedings against you whereby my client will seek the return of the entire security deposit. Should my firm be forced to institute legal proceedings, we will seek any and all additional expenses incurred, including but not limited to, attorney's fees and costs in accordance with Florida Statute 83.49.
What do I do next?
Note that I also have pictures of how the premises were when we moved out and when the house was returned to us.
Thank you,
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the information. Please keep in mind that I am not your attorney, since we are not allowed by the Site to form an attorney-client relationship. Therefore, I cannot tell you what to do. I can discuss the law with you and your options, but if you need legal advice and direct assistance with this case, you will want to sit down with a local attorney who handles landlord-tenant issues on behalf of landlords.
If you want to continue, I will need to know if you have read the statute that he cites in his letter and if you strictly complied with it. Timeline, itemization and return of any balance of the deposit she had coming. Also, did you have a property manager that performed and walk through and did they tell her their were problems over and above normal wear and tear?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I read the statue.
No, I did not strictly comply with the statue.
Yes, I sent an itemized budget, with pictures of the damages.
Yes, I offered to to send the balance on her deposit.
Yes, a friend of mine (not a property manager) did the walk through with the tennant's mother.
No, my friend did not see major problems and did not report them to the tennant's mother at the walk through.
The only item my friend reported missing was a remote garage door opener (which I included in the itemized list of damaged/missing items).
What next?
How do I respond to the demand letter?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Lease ended on May 31.
Tenant moved out on May 31.
Notice of issues sent on Jun 05.
Itemized list sent on Jun 09, including offer to return the balance on the deposit.
Demand letter from tenant's attorney received (via email) Jun 10.
I need to know how to answer the demand letter.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.
Hello again and thank you for your response. As I mentioned in my initial information request, I am not your attorney and cannot tell you what to do. I can only tell you what the law is and what your options are. I cannot draft a response to the attorney or any other legal advice.
Based solely on the information that you have provided, where you failed to meet the statute, is that you did not return the balance of the undisputed security deposit within the 30 days you had per the statute and also if you didn't give her the notice about 15 days to object. Because of that, the tenant is due the entire security deposit returned, despite any alleged damages. The statute is clear on that.
That said, you can file suit in small claims court for the damages she owes you. In other words, the fact that you must immediately pay her the security deposit total, does not prohibit you from going ahead and filing suit for the damages you say she caused. Keep in mind that you will not only have to prove that she caused them and they are above normal wear and tear but also you will have to prove the the amounts of the repairs and extent were reasonable.
Please let me know if you need any clarification.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Maybe I was not clear.
Lease ended 12 days ago, on May 31.
I gave tenant notice 9 days later.
She objected via the demand later 10 days after the lease ended.
30 days have NOT transpired.
Is that better?
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.
Alright, well you stated that you did not comply with the statute. I went based on that statement. Again, important that you included her right to object within 15 days. If you did that, then it sounds like you complied with the statute. So, assuming that you did, you now have a choice. Send the balance of what you think you owe her before the 30 days is up and then prepare to defend yourself in small claims court on the issues I discussed before (proving the damages, etc.). Or return the entire amount and file suit for your damages. Those are your choices.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 years ago.
Hello again,
I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any futher follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 12th. For some unknown reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (in the pop up box, which is how we get credit (paid) for our work) that the customer thinks have gone through. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator.
In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can bookmark my page at:
Thank you.