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With 13.3% of the more than 20 million individuals who reside in Florida renting their place of residence, Florida has one of the largest populations of renters in the country. That is why it is so important for the tenants to understand some of the most important basics of Florida real estate law. Here are just a few.

Can my landlord really charge that much for a security deposit?

Yes. Unfortunately for renters, Florida does not have a limit on how much a landlord may charge for a security deposit. However, if you find that the landlord is charging such an exorbitant amount to only you based off discrimination, you may choose to file a complaint.

What should I do if my landlord refuses to return my security deposit at the end of my lease?

The landlord has an obligation to return your security deposit within one month after a tenant moves out. If a landlord is withholding your security deposit in whole or in part, he or she must provide the tenant with advanced notice of itemized, intended deductions. Landlords may use security deposits to pay for the following:

  • Repairing any damage that has been caused by the tenant or anyone the tenant has allowed in the apartment – This includes pets, but is not relevant to “ordinary wear and tear”
  • Unpaid rent – For instance, if you violate the lease and move out without enough notice
  • Cleaning – if a tenant has left the premises dirtier than the condition in which he or she received it, the landlord can deduct costs for cleaning (assuming that the tenant has not paid a separate cleaning fee)
  • Payment for reversing changes that have been made to the apartment – This could include having to pay for hardware that was left in the wall
  • Unpaid utility fees
  • Unpaid lease agreement financial obligations

Tenants have the option of suing their landlord for the return of their deposit up to an amount of $5,000 in small claims court.

What can I do if my landlord hasn’t fixed an important repair?

If a landlord has not fixed an important repair such as a broken heater in the winter or a broken air conditioner in the summer, the tenant may withhold rent. However, before withholding any rent, a tenant must ensure that their circumstance justifies the action.

Can my landlord choose to evict me for any reason?

A landlord can elect to terminate a tenancy if the tenant has caused intentional destruction to the property or other tenants’ property, or if he or she has repeatedly violated the lease agreement within a 12-month period. In such a case, the landlord may provide the tenant with an unconditional quit notice, giving them seven days to move out before the landlord can file for eviction.

The Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Herzog, P.A. Can Help Those Who Are Dealing with Landlord-Tenant issues

If you or a loved one has a real estate issue, it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Florida real estate attorney. At the Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Herzog, P.A., we understand the significance and aggravation often associated with landlord-tenant issues, and will fight to get you the results that you deserve. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, visit us online or call us at 866-892-0202 today!