How to Get Security Deposit Back in Florida

The ability to get your security deposit back in Florida, or a security deposit refund, depends on what the landlord does when the lease is terminated.

Under Florida law, if the landlord does not follow the exact requirements of the law, specifically section 83.49 of the Florida statutes, then the landlord cannot keep your security deposit.

Getting Your Security Deposit Back After Terminating Your Lease

Under section 83.49 of the Florida statutes, the landlord has 30 days to give the tenant written notice by certified mail to the tenant’s last known address that the landlord intends to impose a claim on the security deposit as well as the reason for imposing that claim.

If the landlord does not send you written notice or does not send you the notice within 30 days, then the landlord cannot keep your security deposit. In fact, even if you believe you will owe the landlord damages for breaking your lease or other items, the landlord still cannot keep the security deposit if he or she messes up the above requirements. That means you’ll be able to get your security deposit back.

What If the Landlord Does Send You Notice, But Gives Bad Reasons to Keep your Deposit?

If the landlord does send you a notice to impose a claim, but gives bad reasons for that claim, you can still fight the landlord in court. You have 15 days after the landlord sends you notice to respond in writing why the landlord’s reasons are faulty. Then, you can sue to get your deposit back.

How Much of Your Security Deposit Can You Get Back?

If you sue the landlord to get your security deposit back in Florida, you are entitled to the full amount of you security deposit plus attorney’s fees and the costs of the lawsuit.

What’s the Process in Getting Your Security Deposit Back in Florida?

The first thing your attorney will do is send a demand letter to the landlord, which will ask for the full amount of the security deposit plus attorney’s fees spent so far. If the landlord does not respond or does not meet your demands, then the attorney will work with you to file a lawsuit for the value of the deposit, plus the costs (such as court filing fees), plus the additional attorney’s fees. If the landlord still refuses to settle, then you and the landlord will be brought before the judge at a hearing. Fortunately most cases are resolved during the demand letter stage or the initial stages of the lawsuit, before the hearing.

How Much Does an Attorney Cost to Sue the Landlord to Get Your Security Deposit Back?

I charge flat rates: $395 for the initial demand letter, another $595 should we need to file the lawsuit, and another $695 should the case go to a hearing. Most cases are resolved with the demand letter. You are entitled to recover all of these fees should you prevail in the lawsuit. Often, with just writing the demand letter, the landlord will pay to settle the lawsuit by giving you back your deposit, plus attorney’s fees.

About Gideon Alper

Gideon Alper
Gideon is an attorney that focuses on adoption, bankruptcy, same-sex couples, evictions, and debt collection defense in Orlando, Florida.