If not properly handled, security deposit claims can bring dire economic consequences to landlords. Florida Statues require that upon a tenant’s vacating 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 fifteen (15) days to return the security deposit or the landlord shall have thirty (30) days to give the tenant written notification of a claim against the security deposit within thirty (30) days after the tenant vacates the premises. If the landlord does not send the notice within the required time period, he or she may be liable to return the security deposit, even if the tenant owes money.
There are only two things which can be properly deduced form a security deposit – past due rent and damages. If there are questions as to what may or may not be deducted one should seek legal advice. If there is a lawsuit over the security and the tenant wins even partial return of the deposit, the tenant can be awarded attorney’s fees, which normally far exceed the amount of the deposit itself. This is not an area of the law where self-help is advised