MOREY LAW BLOG

Do I have to Return the Tenant’s Security Deposit after they are Evicted

Posted On May 31, 2015

Landlords often make the mistake of not considering whether they need to provide their former tenants the security deposit notice required under Florida law after the tenants are evicted.  It is rare that anything happens to the Landlord as a result. The reason seems to be that once a tenant is evicted, they may think that they have waived their rights to the deposit. That may be the case; however, that may not waive the tenant’s right to receive the notice. Section 83.49 of the Florida Statutes states:

(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 and may not seek a setoff against the deposit but may file an action for damages after return of the 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. The failure of the tenant to make a timely objection does not waive any rights of the tenant to seek damages in a separate action.

This Statute also provides for situation where the notice is not needed:

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.

Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, if you have any questions regarding your rights to notice and the security deposit, we can help! We can consider your situation and help you determine your rights. Contact us today at (407) 426-7222 for a free consultation to discuss your specific situation.