“I deserve my security deposit back, I left the apartment in perfect condition at the end of my lease!” said alumni Marcus Crawford. This real life story has a happy ending because Marcus applied the law he learned in class to get his money back. You can do it too!
Check out this 2 min video and read the 5 steps below to learn how:
Most residential landlord tenant issues are governed by the law of the state where you rent an apartment. In Florida, Residential Landlord Tenant laws are found in Florida Statutes Section 83 Part II.
Florida, just like the state where you live, requires security deposits to be returned in a specific way that Marcus discusses in the video and is mentioned below. See Florida Statutes 83.49.
Lets understand “Security Deposits.” When you rent an apartment, the Landlord transfers possessory interest in the apartment to you in return for rent. Rent is the Landlord’s income stream, his bread and butter. The Landlord counts on rent to be able to pay the Landlord’s ownership expenses –property tax, mortgage, insurance and condo maintenance (if condo). Luckily, the tenant doesn’t pay these expenses. The Tenant counts on being able to possess, live in, the apartment without disturbance in return for rent.
A Security Deposit gives the Landlord some financial “security” that there will be some funds to cover expenses if you don’t stay for the term of your lease or you damage the apartment during the time you possess it (ie make holes in the wall, dirty the carpet, break a window, break the shower door etc.) This is important because the Landlord’s bank, the tax collector, the insurance company and the condo association won’t give the Landlord a break because the tenant stopped paying or left damage.
Landlords don’t want to keep security deposits because keeping security deposits means a Tenant damaged the apartment and/or the income stream stopped (the tenant left before the end of the lease).
If you leave the apartment in the same condition as the day you rented it, it’s not fair for the Landlord to keep your security deposit.
Wherever you rent if you want to get your security deposit back, its smart to take these steps:
1. Photograph and document the condition of the apartment when the lease begins
2. Ask the Landlord to agree in writing to the condition in the photos (date the agreement)
3. Return the apartment to its original condition before the end of the Lease and take photos
4. Ask to include a lease provision that allows you to request a walk through of the apartment with the Landlord at the end of the lease (*Some states including Florida don’t require a walk through unless the Landlord and Tenant agree to it in the lease)
5. Provide your new mailing address to your Landlord in writing (*Many states, including Florida, only require the Landlord to send notices to your last known address, if you don’t give a new address, you won’t get the notice and you’ll miss your time frame to object to it)
See below for the procedure for the return of the security deposit in Florida, check the law in the state where you live to find out the procedure there!
- If the Landlord is giving you your whole Security Deposit back, he has 15 days to return it to you, at your last known mailing address
- If the Landlord is making a claim, he has 30 days to give you written notice by certified mail to your last known address of his intention to make a claim and the reason why
- If the Landlord doesn’t give you the required notice within the 30-day period, he forfeits the right to impose a claim upon the security deposit.
- The Tenant has 15 days from the date of the receipt of the notice to object to the claim, if the Tenant doesn’t object in the time period the Landlord can deduct its claim
I’m proud Marcus Crawford applied the lesson he learned in class and turned it into dollars in real life! I know Marcus is and will continue to be a smart successful businessman! I love to spotlight the achievements of my students, please contact me if you’d like to share a real estate story and be highlighted in a Professor Real Estate® alumni spotlight!
Disclaimer: Professor Real Estate® written materials apply generally to real estate subjects and are not intended to apply to specific legal issues.
Copyright © 2012 Suzanne Hollander, Professor Real Estate® The People’s Professor