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What legal procedures do landlords have to go through in order to keep a security deposit

West Palm Beach, FL |

My landland is keeping a substantial part of my security deposit for reasons I disagree with. Is there some legal process he has to go through before he can keep part of my security deposit? Do I have the right to object. What do I have to do to get my entire security deposit back?

Attorney Answers 2


Dear "what legal procedures do LLs have to go through?":

LLs have to send a letter via certified mail within fifteen days to return the deposit if they are not going to make a claim against it.

LLs have to send a letter via certified mail within thirty days to explain the claim they are making against all or a part of the Sec. Dep.

Did you give the LL a notice that you were moving and give him/her your forwarding mailing address?

You must object to the LL's letter within fifteen days of receiving it. Send the letter to the LL certified mail.
If you believe that you are in the right, you can file a small claim for the deposit.
You can also hire an attorney to handle it for you.
There is a Find A Lawyer tab above to help you find a lawyer or you can call the Florida Bar for a referral program.

Good luck!

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Florida Statute 83.49 provides the procedure. I disagree with one aspect of the previous answer in that if the landlord DOES NOT need to keep the security deposit they are supposed to send you the money back within 15 days. They only have to send certified mail within 30 days if they intend to keep all or part of it.
See this statute:
(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.

Attorney answers to questions are for general purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. The hiring of an attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. Landlord/Tenant, Appellate and Criminal Defense. Robert Devin, Esq. (954) 647-5927, 200 SE 6th St., Suite 603, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301

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