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Can my Landlord keep my security deposit even though I cleaned my apartment before I left?

Jupiter, FL |

The Realtor that represents him is saying that the carpet cleaners who professionally cleaned my carpets did not do a good enough job. Also that the base boards, the grout and the walls are dirty. I cleaned all of them before moving out. They were not spotless but definitely better than when I moved in. What do I do?

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Attorney answers 3


The answer is, it depends. First, to be able to claim your deposit (or any part of it) there is a specific notice that the Landlord has to provide you within a fixed period of time. If they don't they may not claim against your deposit. There are also specific requirements about how a landlord is required to hold your deposit (which are frequently violated). It is not unusual for Landlords to come up with justifications for deposit retention. On the bright side, a Tenant may recover attorneys fees from a landlord if the Tenant is successful. I would suggest you talk to a lawyer as many will handle this on a contingency basis if the case looks good.

Eric Jacobs


First and foremost, did you receive a letter via certified mail from the Landlord about the claim against your security deposit? If, after you vacated, you provided the Landlord with a forwarding address, the Landlord has 30 days to send you a letter via certified mail regarding the claim against your deposit. Failure to comply with this requirement will mean that you get all of your deposit back. This doesn't, however, mean the Landlord can't come after the alleged damages through a small claims action against you. If you received the letter mentioned above, you have 15 days in which to dispute the charges IN WRITING back to the Landlord.



I never got no letter from the landlord. I have sent her certified letter stating to please return my security deposit back but have not responded back. It been 4 month I don't know my first step?

Ian C. White

Ian C. White


First off, I presume you are referring to a landlord/tenant relationship in Florida. The information I provide will be based on Florida law. When you vacated, did you provide your landlord with a forwarding address so they would know where to send the security deposit claim letter? If so, the landlord is required to send out the claim letter via certified mail within 30 days of you vacating. Based on what you have described, the landlord has not complied with Florida law and your entire deposit should be returned to you. There are certain circumstances (i.e., a default of the lease terms) that could affect what I'm telling you though. For the most part, you are now faced with bringing an action in small claims court to get a judge to rule on who is entitled to the money. This would be your first step unless you want to send out another letter to the landlord and inform them that you plan to bring an action against them in court if your money is not returned. Ian C. White, Esq. Law Offices of Ian C. White, LLC 4832 Kerry Forest Parkway, Suite B Tallahassee, Florida 32309 Telephone: (850) 668-7849 Facsimile: (850) 668-7844


There are a number of requirements under Florida law for a landlord to keep your security deposit. Take a look at the florida statute 83.49. You can contest your landlords claim to the security deposit and recover your attorneys fees for doing so.

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