After the tenant vacates the rental property, the landlord has only 15 days to return the security deposit if the landlord does not intend to make a claim on the security deposit. If the landlord does intend to make a claim against the security deposit, the landlord has "30 days to give the tenant written notice by certified mail to the tenant's last known mailing address of his or her intention to impose a claim on the deposit and the reason for imposing the claim." F.S. s. 83.49(3)(a). The statute even contains a form notice as follows:
This is a notice of my intention to impose a claim for damages in the amount of $______________ upon your security deposit, due to ___________________. It is sent to you as required by s. 83.49(3), Florida Statutes. You are hereby notified that you must object in writing to this deduction from your security deposit within 15 days from the time you receive this notice or I will be authorized to deduct my claim from your security deposit. Your objection must be sent to (landlord’s address).
If the landlord does not give the required notice within 30 days, the landlord forfeits the right to impose a claim against the security deposit. Keep in mind, though, that even if the landlord forfeits the right to the security deposit, the landlord may still have a claim for damages and can file a lawsuit to recover those damages.
If the landlord intends to make a claim against a security deposit and sends the required notice, the tenant has only 15 days after receipt of the notice to send a written objection to the landlord. If no objection is made, the landlord may deduct the amount of his or her claim and send the balance, if any, to the tenant within 30 days after the date of the notice of intention to impose a claim. F.S. s. 83.49(3)(b).
Subsection (c) of the statute provides for attorney's fees in the event of litigation. If either party files a lawsuit to adjudicate the party’s right to the security deposit, the prevailing party is entitled to receive his or her court costs plus a reasonable fee for his or her attorney.
If you are interested in retaining my services in Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens and/or throughout Palm Beach County and the State of Florida to address security deposit issues or other landlord/tenant issues, please feel free to contact me at (561) 602-4447 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at www.elizabethmontgomerylaw.com.