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What Can a Landlord Deduct From a Security Deposit?

What Can a Landlord Deduct From a Security Deposit?

Under Florida law, a landlord has to return a tenant's security deposit within 15 to 60 days after the tenant has moved out. However, landlords can deduct certain things from the security deposit amount.

Depending on the condition of the unit after a tenant moves out, they may or may not receive a full security deposit back.

What can a landlord deduct from a security deposit? Keep reading to find out.

Major Property Damage

So what can a landlord deduct from a security deposit? The most common deduction is major property damage.

Renters are responsible for leaving the property in the same condition that it was in when they moved in. Normal wear and tear is expected.

If tenants leave extensive property damages, they must pay for them. This could be cracked countertops, stained carpets, broken cabinets, etc.

Landlords can use the full security deposit depending on the damages or dock the security deposit return amount.

Unreasonable Messes

If tenants move out and leave behind a big mess, landlords can complete a security deposit deduction.

It's difficult for tenants to contest these messes once they've left. You can take pictures of the mess as evidence that they didn't clean.

Cleaning fees can be taken from the security deposits as tenants should complete a move out clean before they turn in their keys.

Items Left Behind

When tenants neglect to pack all of their things, they can lose out on their security deposit. This is common for large leftover items like beds, couches, and mattresses.

Landlords can take the cost of removing these items from the security deposit. Moving big ticket items requires a landlord to hire a junk removal company or take additional steps to make your unit livable for someone new.

Unpaid Rent or Utilities

Along with rental damages, tenants that vacate the unit without fully paying their rent or utility bills will have a deduction in their security deposit. Associated late fees are also covered with the security deposit if necessary.

Tenants cannot use the security deposit to cover rent payments, but landlords can use the security deposit to cover a rent payment.

If you receive checks to cover tenant utilities, you can also use tenant security deposits for due utilities.

Breaking a Lease

There are different consequences to breaking a lease early. Commonly, tenants will forfeit their security deposit to break their lease.

The penalties for lease breaking should be included in the rental agreement so that tenants understand the implications before moving in.

It's up to landlords to allow potential alternatives like subletting. You might be more comfortable allowing a tenant to find a subletter to take over their contract rather than going without a tenant.

What Can a Landlord Deduct From a Security Deposit? Explained

Security deposit laws differ by location, so what can a landlord deduct from a security deposit?

Major property damage, unreasonable messes, items left behind, unpaid fees, and breaking a lease can all be deducted from a security deposit. Outlining these in the renter's agreement is important.

To help with security deposits and other property management tasks, hire professionals. Contact us today to learn what we can do for you.