Florida has some fairly strict security deposit laws that you need to follow when you’re renting out your Orlando property. While there’s no limit to what you can collect, you do have to hold the deposit in a separate account in a Florida bank, and you have to let your tenants know where it’s being kept.
The most complicated legal requirements are at the end of the lease term, however, when you’re required to return the deposit. There’s always the potential for tenant disputes and conflicts if a deposit isn’t returned in full.
Today, we’re sharing professional Orlando property management tips on how to handle the return of your tenant’s security deposit.
Wear and Tear vs. Tenant Damage
After your tenant has moved out, you’ll need to conduct a complete inspection to find out if any damage needs to be repaired. As the landlord, you’re responsible for wear and tear items. Scuffing on the walls from where furniture was pushed up against them is normal, and so are small nail holes from where pictures were hung. Don’t charge the tenant’s deposit for those things.
Tenant damage, however, is the tenant’s responsibility. Some of the most common types of damage we see and deduct for include:
- Doors that are off the hinges or missing their knobs and handles
- Holes and chips in floors and counters
- Broken bathroom tiles
- Stained carpet or ripped and torn carpet or linoleum
- Major marks and stains on walls from markers, pens, or even paint
Reasons to Withhold Money from a Security Deposit
Property damage is the most common reason to withhold money from your tenant’s security deposit. You can also charge the deposit for cleaning fees or to haul away any furniture, personal belongings, or trash that is left inside the property. You can also keep money for unpaid rent and utilities. If your tenant has broken the lease and vacated without notice before the end of the lease term, you can keep the deposit to cover the costs of the lease break.
Timelines for Security Deposit Returns
Florida law requires you to return a tenant’s deposit within 15 days after they move out. If you have held the deposit in an interest-bearing account, you must include the accrued interest as well.
You have a little bit longer to return the deposit and the appropriate documentation if you’re making deductions to the security deposit. In that case, you have to provide written notification within 30 days that you’ll be making deductions. If you miss this deadline, you can’t make any deductions at all, and you’ll be ordered to return the full deposit. You’ll then have 30 days to return the remaining deposit with an itemized list of what you’ve deducted and why.
Returning the security deposit doesn’t have to be complicated, but it can be emotional for your tenants, especially if you’re withholding money. Make sure you have documented the condition of the home and you can support your case if a tenant takes you to court to dispute the charges.
We can help you manage security deposit routines and all of the other details pertaining to Orlando property management. Contact us at R. Russell Properties.