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What Landlords Need to Know about Florida Security Deposit Law

What Landlords Need to Know about Florida Security Deposit Law

Florida ranks 2nd in the nation in moves associated with eviction and foreclosure.

If you're a Manatee or Sarasota-area landlord, evicting a tenant is never ideal. When your investment is at risk, you have little choice but to take action. Whether they've damaged your property or failed to pay rent, it becomes too costly to keep renting your house to them.

There are ways to combat losses associated with poor tenants. In today's post, we'll look at security deposits and tell you a bit about the Florida security deposit law that governs them. Keep reading and you'll know just how to recoup any money lost due to a delinquent tenant.

What Is a Security Deposit?

Rental security deposits are essentially a form of insurance. When you rent out your property to a tenant, even with amazing tenant screening processes, you never truly know what you're getting. Asking for a security deposit gives you financial protection if the tenant damages something or misses rent payments.

You'll usually collect the security deposit in advance of the tenant moving into the property. Most often, it coincides with a move-in inspection, where both parties walk through the unit with an inspection checklist.

You both make note of any existing damage. At the end of a tenancy, you perform the same inspection. Any new damage is presumed to be caused by the tenant, so you take the cost of repairs out of the damage deposit.

Florida Security Deposit Law

Property damage is the most common reason for deductions from security deposits, but any losses due to a tenant's actions can warrant a deduction. It's important to familiarize yourself with Florida's landlord-tenant laws before requesting a security deposit.

In Florida, there's no limit on how much you can collect for a security deposit. That being said, the more you ask for, the more viable applicants you'll be driving away. Most landlords will charge the equivalent of one month's rent as a security deposit.

Collecting and Returning Security Deposits

When you receive the deposit, you need to deposit it into a Florida banking establishment. This is to avoid any mixing of the tenant's money with your personal finances. The only other legal requirement is that you must return the deposit within 15 to 60 days of the tenant moving out.

If the tenant misses a rent payment, you're entitled to keep enough of the security deposit to cover your losses. When losses involve property damage, you must provide proof of the damage, as well as receipts showing the cost of repairs along with any remaining security deposit money.

You need to keep evidence in the event the tenant disputes your damage claims. The more evidence you have, the easier it'll be to prove in court if it gets to that point.

How Property Management Services Help

As long as you follow Florida security deposit law, you can protect your investment property from bad tenants. Even still, it can be a stressful process for landlords to make deductions from security deposits.

If you're finding it difficult to enforce these rules on your tenants, property management can help. Full-service property management from Gulf Coast Property Management will tackle all tenant screening and management on your behalf.

Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.