Florida Security Deposit Laws

In Florida, there is no state-enforced limit on security deposits, but there may be at the local level.
Written by David Ghanizadeh-Khoob
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Jun 01, 2022
law permits landlords to collect a security deposit and does not regulate a security deposit limit. Landlords usually request the equivalent of one month’s rent. After you move out, landlords must return the deposit within 15 days unless they intend to make a deduction. 
Moving into a new apartment can get expensive, and having to cough up hundreds or thousands of dollars extra for a security deposit can add to the headache. To make things more complicated, security deposit laws vary from state to state.
To help you understand the security deposit laws for your Florida apartment, home and
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What is Florida law on security deposits?

Landlords are legally allowed to collect security deposits of any amount per the Florida state government. Security deposits are intended to compensate landlords for any losses that the tenant is responsible for during their tenancy.
However, there are various regulations landlords must follow. Within 30 days of receiving the deposit, landlords must send a written notice of the receipt to the tenants. This notice has to include where the deposit is being held, if the funds are kept separately, and if the funds are being held in an interest-bearing account.
If the security deposit is held in an interest-bearing account, then the tenant is entitled to 75% of the annualized interest rate payable on the account or 5% per year, whichever the landlord chooses.
If any of the terms of the security deposit change, the landlord has to provide notice within 30 days after the change.
statute 83.49
explains all the legal requirements for collecting security deposits.

What is the maximum security deposit a landlord can charge in Florida?

There are no limits on security deposits at the state level in Florida, but your city or county can draw up its own regulations. 
Landlords typically ask for a reasonable security deposit, such as 1-1.5 months’ worth of rent.

How long does a landlord have to return a security deposit in Florida?

After you move out, the landlord has 15 to 60 days to return your money, depending on the circumstances.
Typically, you are entitled to have your full security deposit back including any accrued interest within 15 days. Make sure you provide the landlord with a forwarding address upon moving out so you can receive the money on time. 
If the landlord intends to make deductions from the deposit to pay for damages, then they must notify you of their intention within 30 days. If the landlord fails to notify them within 30 days, then they forfeit their right to make any deductions. 
In the notification, the landlord has to include the excerpt found in Florida statute 83.49.3. If the landlord goes through with deductions, the remaining money must be returned within 60 days of the tenant moving out.

What can a landlord withhold a security deposit for in Florida?

Landlords are legally permitted to withhold or reduce a security deposit for the following reasons:
  • Unpaid rent
  • Unpaid utilities 
  • Unlawful lease termination
  • Damage exceeding normal wear and tear 
  • Cleaning needed to restore the property to the state it was prior to the tenancy
  • Restoring or replacing any property taken from the unit by the tenant
What is in excess of normal wear and tear can be ambiguous. Generally, this means any damage that goes beyond what would be expected from living in the unit. So if you’ve broken furniture, ruined or stained carpets, or made a hole in the wall, you should expect to face a deduction from your security deposit.
If the tenant causes more damage than the deposit can cover, the landlord can sue the tenant for any additional fees.

How to get your security deposit back in Florida

If you have not received your security deposit back within the normal period, first contact your landlord. It’s likely they forgot or there was a mix-up with the new address you provided.
If the landlord refuses to return your deposit unjustifiably, you can take them to small claims court. This can be a stressful and time-consuming process, it may be worthwhile depending on the amount of money involved. 

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