Security Deposits 2 (After you Leave) – Florida Landlord-Tenant Law and Florida Renter’s Rights

The basics of security deposits under Florida’s Landlord-Tenant Act (for residential property):

(1) The landlord has to hold the tenant’s security deposit “in trust” for the tenant, and cannot spend the security deposit money and cannot mix the security deposit money with the landlord’s own money (unless the landlord buys a special kind of insurance called a bond). Landlords just about never get a bond for security deposits, so essentially the law prohibits the landlord from mixing your security deposit money with the money of the landlord.

(2) The landlord must notify the tenant in writing of where the security deposit money is being held (i.e. what bank).

(3) The landlord has special duties to notify the tenant of when and how the landlord seeks to make a “claim” against the security deposit after the tenant leaves the rental property. Those duties can vary based on how much notice the tenant has provided that the tenant is leaving, whether the tenant leaves on time, whether the tenant was in a lease or was month-to-month, and whether and how the tenant notifies the landlord of the tenant’s forwarding address.

TO MAKE IT MOST LIKELY THAT A SECURITY DEPOSIT IS RETURNED OR CANNOT BE KEPT BY THE LANDLORD, A TENANT SHOULD TAKE SOME IMPORTANT STEPS AFTER LEAVING THE PROPERTY:

– Wait 30-45 days after you have left on time and see what mail comes from the Landlord, if any (the mail the landlord sends you and when and how it is sent is very important, so I don’t recommend that you contact the landlord prior to days, because this tends to increase frustrations between the landlord and tenant, often creates an unhelpful “paper trail” of correspondence, and is not productive because the landlord is not required to do anything as far as notice for at least 30 days after you leave);

– You should receive a notice of the landlord’s claim on your security deposit within 30 to 35 days after your lease ends if you vacate the rental property on time;

– Carefully review the notice you are sent by the landlord for accuracy. If you dispute any charges the landlord is making, follow the instructions in the notice you are send and object to the landlord’s claims within 15 days of receiving the notice;

– Decide whether to pursue a claim against your landlord for the security deposit’s return, or give up (“waive”) the deposit in order to make other debts go away that the landlord may say that you owe (beyond the value of the security deposit).

This video and the information provided in it is a free informational service courtesy of http://www.floridatenant.com (a service of Churchill & Wells, LLC).

Links to the forms discussed in our videos:

Florida Lease Termination Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Rent Withholding Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Security Deposit Dispute Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Eviction Defense Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Settlement Agreement Between Landlord and Tenant Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

WARNING: Don’t rely solely on legal forms or instructional videos for legal advice, ESPECIALLY if you don’t fully understand how the law works on your issue. Florida Landlord-Tenant laws can get very complicated and every case is factually different, and you should always seek legal advice directly for your situation. You can schedule a consultation with our attorney at http://www.FloridaTenant.com, or seek the advice of a local landlord-tenant attorney in your county. None of these instructions, forms, or videos available through FloridaTenant.com should be understood as legal advice for your particular situation, and these materials should be augmented by legal advice of an attorney.

Link to the Florida Landlord-Tenant Act: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0083/0083.html

Also, check out the link below regarding our favorite helpful products that are available to help protect tenants from nosy landlords and problem rental properties, like non-destructive ways to deal with rodents and bugs, helpful tools to make sure that the landlord is not entering your home uninvited, and handy stuff to make the property more liveable when the landlord is not trying hard enough. THESE PRODUCTS CAN MAKE TENANT LIVING EASIER AND KEEP LANDLORDS HONEST.

https://www.floridatenant.com/links
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How to Settle Up with Landlord – Florida Landlord-Tenant Law and Florida Renter’s Rights

The basics of settling up with the landlord under Florida’s Landlord-Tenant Act (for residential property):

(1) No matter what a tenant is fighting about with a landlord, that can be settled out with a written agreement. Evictions or threats of eviction, tenant withholding rent, tenant lease terminations, or security deposit disputes are all commonly finalized with a settlement agreement.

(2) The more “formal” a settlement agreement is, the more likely it is to work. So it is better to have an email than a text. It is MUCH better to have a signed document than a text or an email.

(3) Settlement agreements are legal and binding contracts, and they require a “bargain” to be struck in order to be enforced. That means that a promise along, even if it is in writing, is generally not an enforceable settlement agreement. There must be an exchange of some kind that is acknowledged by the agreement (e.g. landlord agrees that tenant does not owe any money for rent, and tenant agrees to surrender the security deposit to the landlord).

(4) Most controversies and disputes between landlord and tenants get BIGGER as a result of a lack of a written settlement agreement. Usually that is because there is a misunderstanding or lack of agreement as to duties and obligations the tenant and landlord have toward one another. Settlement agreements are designed to eliminate those misunderstandings.

This video and the information provided in it is a free informational service courtesy of http://www.FloridaTenant.com (a service of Churchill & Wells, LLC).

Links to the forms discussed in our videos:

Florida Lease Termination Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Rent Withholding Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Security Deposit Dispute Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Eviction Defense Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Settlement Agreement Between Landlord and Tenant Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

WARNING: Don’t rely solely on legal forms or instructional videos for legal advice, ESPECIALLY if you don’t fully understand how the law works on your issue. Florida Landlord-Tenant laws can get very complicated and every case is factually different, and you should always seek legal advice directly for your situation. You can schedule a consultation with our attorney at http://www.FloridaTenant.com, or seek the advice of a local landlord-tenant attorney in your county. None of these instructions, forms, or videos available through FloridaTenant.com should be understood as legal advice for your particular situation, and these materials should be augmented by legal advice of an attorney.

Link to the Florida Landlord-Tenant Act: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0083/0083.html

Also, check out the link below regarding our favorite helpful products that are available to help protect tenants from nosy landlords and problem rental properties, like non-destructive ways to deal with rodents and bugs, helpful tools to make sure that the landlord is not entering your home uninvited, and handy stuff to make the property more liveable when the landlord is not trying hard enough. THESE PRODUCTS CAN MAKE TENANT LIVING EASIER AND KEEP LANDLORDS HONEST.

https://www.floridatenant.com/links
Video Rating: / 5

Landlords and Good Customer Service? – Florida Landlord-Tenant Law and Florida Renter’s Rights

Why lousy customer service is how a LOT of Florida landlords work, and a Florida residential tenant DOES NOT have a legal right to good customer service under Florida’s Landlord-Tenant Act:
(1) Many residential tenants feel that because they are paying rent and abiding by their lease, the landlord SHOULD hold up its end of the bargain and fix problems, maintain the property, and generally be attentive to their rent-paying tenants. ALL OF THAT IS TRUE, BUT (AND THIS IS A BIG, BIG, BUT) . . .
(2) Good customer service just is not a strength of many residential landlords. That means that many tenant concerns or complaints go under-attended or altogether unaddressed, or are handled far too slowly.
(3) THE PROBLEM IS THAT BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE IS NOT ILLEGAL. This is especially important in a Landlord-Tenant context, because many Florida judges believe that the ONLY things that a tenant can legally use as leverage against a Landlord are (usually) things that are happening in the PRESENT, (not the past). WHY? Well, that has to do with a weird little part of the Landlord-Tenant Act . . .
(4) The Landlord-Tenant Act says that the payment of rent effectively “forgives” the landlord’s past wrongs. So a tenant is generally not allowed to terminate a lease or (arguably) to legally withhold rent over issues that occurred BEFORE the last time the tenant paid rent.
All of the above means that it is really important when challenging a landlord to comply with a lease, code issues, or the Landlord-Tenant Act, to make sure that you are NOT complaining about how terrible the landlord is over the last several months (i.e., the past), but that you ONLY focus on the problems you are having with the landlord NOW IN THE PRESENT.
To learn more about effectively withholding rent, terminating your lease, defending yourself against an eviction, claiming your security deposit, or protecting yourself from bad landlords, check out our videos on those subjects at https://www.floridatenant.com/videos, and look at our forms and tips-filled-templates at https://www.floridatenant.com/links.
This video and the information provided in it is a free informational service courtesy of https://www.floridatenant.com/ (a service of Churchill & Wells, PLLC).
Links to the forms discussed in our videos:
Florida Lease Termination Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links
Florida Rent Withholding Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links
Florida Security Deposit Dispute Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links
Florida Eviction Defense Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links
Settlement Agreement Between Landlord and Tenant Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links
WARNING: Don’t rely solely on legal forms or instructional videos for legal advice, ESPECIALLY if you don’t fully understand how the law works on your issue. Florida Landlord-Tenant laws can get very complicated and every case is factually different, and you should always seek legal advice directly for your situation. You can schedule a consultation with our attorney at https://www.floridatenant.com/, or seek the advice of a local landlord-tenant attorney in your county. None of these instructions, forms, or videos available through FloridaTenant.com should be understood as legal advice for your particular situation, and these materials should be augmented by legal advice of an attorney.
Link to the Florida Landlord-Tenant Act: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0083/0083.html
Video Rating: / 5

Security Deposits 1 (Before You Leave) – Florida Landlord-Tenant Law and Florida Renter’s Rights

The basics of security deposits under Florida’s Landlord-Tenant Act (for residential property):

(1) The landlord has to hold the tenant’s security deposit “in trust” for the tenant, and cannot spend the security deposit money and cannot mix the security deposit money with the landlord’s own money (unless the landlord buys a special kind of insurance called a bond). Landlords just about never get a bond for security deposits, so essentially the law prohibits the landlord from mixing your security deposit money with the money of the landlord.

(2) The landlord must notify the tenant in writing of where the security deposit money is being held (i.e. what bank).

(3) The landlord has special duties to notify the tenant of when and how the landlord seeks to make a “claim” against the security deposit after the tenant leaves the rental property. Those duties can vary based on how much notice the tenant has provided that the tenant is leaving, whether the tenant leaves on time, whether the tenant was in a lease or was month-to-month, and whether and how the tenant notifies the landlord of the tenant’s forwarding address.
TO MAKE IT MOST LIKELY THAT A SECURITY DEPOSIT IS RETURNED OR CANNOT BE KEPT BY THE LANDLORD, A TENANT SHOULD TAKE SOME IMPORTANT STEPS BEFORE LEAVING THE PROPERTY:

– Give the landlord at least 70 days notice before leaving the property that the lease is not going to be renewed;

– Leave on time at the end of the lease (not 2 weeks early or 2 days late);

– Give the landlord 14 days notice by certified mail of where the tenant’s forwarding address will be;

– Make sure the place left behind is as clean and undamaged as possible. Little stuff goes a long, long way for this.

This video and the information provided in it is a free informational service courtesy of www.FloridaTenant.com (a service of Churchill & Wells, LLC).

Links to the forms discussed in our videos:

Florida Lease Termination Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Rent Withholding Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Security Deposit Dispute Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Eviction Defense Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Settlement Agreement Between Landlord and Tenant Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

WARNING: Don’t rely solely on legal forms or instructional videos for legal advice, ESPECIALLY if you don’t fully understand how the law works on your issue. Florida Landlord-Tenant laws can get very complicated and every case is factually different, and you should always seek legal advice directly for your situation. You can schedule a consultation with our attorney at www.FloridaTenant.com, or seek the advice of a local landlord-tenant attorney in your county. None of these instructions, forms, or videos available through FloridaTenant.com should be understood as legal advice for your particular situation, and these materials should be augmented by legal advice of an attorney.

Link to the Florida Landlord-Tenant Act: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0083/0083.html

Also, check out the link below regarding our favorite helpful products that are available to help protect tenants from nosy landlords and problem rental properties, like non-destructive ways to deal with rodents and bugs, helpful tools to make sure that the landlord is not entering your home uninvited, and handy stuff to make the property more liveable when the landlord is not trying hard enough. THESE PRODUCTS CAN MAKE TENANT LIVING EASIER AND KEEP LANDLORDS HONEST:

https://www.floridatenant.com/links
Video Rating: / 5

Can My Landlord Do That? (Part II)– Florida Landlord-Tenant Law and Florida Renter’s Rights

Can My Landlord Do That?  (Part II)– Florida Landlord-Tenant Law and Florida Renter’s Rights

Some basic information regarding what a Landlord can and cannot do under Florida’s Landlord-Tenant Act (for residential property):
WHAT A LANDLORD CANNOT DO:
(1) Lockouts / Turning off the Power or Water / “Self-Help” Evictions. Any effort by a landlord to put a tenant out of the property without going through a court legal process is illegal. If this happens to you, the best way to combat it (immediately) is to call the police or Sherriff’s office. Usually they will verify that you are a legal tenant and force the landlord to let you back in or restore the power/water.

(2) Disregard Your Rights Under the Landlord Tenant Act (Even if you Sign a Lease that says Otherwise). All residential tenants in Florida have basic rights that a landlord must observe, and generally, those rights cannot be “waived” or signed away in a lease. Those rights include . . .
– The right to a conventional 3-day or 7-day notice eviction process that includes a “grace period” in which the tenant can correct issues instead of being evicted;
– The right to “quiet enjoyment” of the property and not being harassed by the landlord – (including not having the landlord coming in to the property unannounced);
– The right to have a property that is up to standards for residential use (code compliant, free of pests and rodents, leaks, and environmental contamination). [BUT, WATCH OUT FOR THE “FIXER-UPPER EXCEPTION – a rented single family home or duplex can be rented “as-is”].

(3) Dishonor or Ignore Provisions in your Lease. This may sound obvious, but it is not that uncommon that a Landlord will simply disregard what the lease says. This may require some firm reminders from the tenant of what the lease contract says and a willingness to enforce it.
WHAT A LANDLORD CAN DO:
(1) Run Background / Credit / Criminal / Prior Eviction Checks on Prospective Tenants and Their Live-In Family.

(2) Refuse to Rent to a Tenant unless the Tenant has a Guarantor

(3) Require a Tenant to Provide Notice Beforehand if the Tenant is not going to renew a Lease, and Charge a Money Penalty if the Tenant does not give the Notice.

(4) Refuse to Renew a Lease or Month-To-Month Rental

(5) Be Grumpy, Evil, a Terrible All-Around Person, and Bad at Customer Service.

(6) Hold the Tenant to the Specific Terms of the Lease (even if the Tenant signs without reading).

This video and the information provided in it is a free informational service courtesy of https://www.floridatenant.com/ (a service of Churchill & Wells, PLLC).
Links to the forms discussed in our videos:
Florida Lease Termination Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links
Florida Rent Withholding Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links
Florida Security Deposit Dispute Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links
Florida Eviction Defense Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links
Settlement Agreement Between Landlord and Tenant Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links
WARNING: Don’t rely solely on legal forms or instructional videos for legal advice, ESPECIALLY if you don’t fully understand how the law works on your issue. Florida Landlord-Tenant laws can get very complicated and every case is factually different, and you should always seek legal advice directly for your situation. You can schedule a consultation with our attorney at https://www.floridatenant.com/, or seek the advice of a local landlord-tenant attorney in your county. None of these instructions, forms, or videos available through FloridaTenant.com should be understood as legal advice for your particular situation, and these materials should be augmented by legal advice of an attorney.
Link to the Florida Landlord-Tenant Act: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0083/0083.html
Video Rating: / 5

How to Terminate a Lease – Florida Landlord-Tenant Law and Florida Renter’s Rights

The basics of legally terminating a lease under Florida’s Landlord-Tenant Act (for residential property):

(1) Terminating a lease is a serious step that will irritate the landlord, and involves risk. Landlord’s will fight you to prevent you from terminating the lease (surprisingly many tenants assume the lease termination is routine and non-complicated, and are then shocked at how complicated it can get).

(2) Terminating a lease is a QUALIFIED RIGHT, and requires a good faith written notice (in a certain form) from the tenant issued at least 7 days prior to when the tenant intends to leave and terminate the lease. The landlord can opt to fix whatever problems are being complained about, and if those fixes are done right and within 7 days of the notice, the tenant then CANNOT legally terminate the lease.

(3) Because tenant lease terminations almost always involve disputed facts between the landlord and tenant, usually a lease termination ends with either the landlord believing it is still owed money by the tenant (i.e. believing that the lease really has not been terminated), or a settlement of some kind between the landlord and tenant.

(4) Some leases have a termination right BUILT IN, where a tenant is permitted to pay, for example, 2 months’ rent beyond the period of occupancy and then can terminate the lease. This is most useful when the tenant has a long time left on the lease (more than 6 months), and does not have a good argument to terminate the lease otherwise.

This video and the information provided in it is a free informational service courtesy of http://www.FloridaTenant.com (a service of Churchill & Wells, LLC).

Links to the forms discussed in our videos:

Florida Lease Termination Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Rent Withholding Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Security Deposit Dispute Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Eviction Defense Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Settlement Agreement Between Landlord and Tenant Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

WARNING: Don’t rely solely on legal forms or instructional videos for legal advice, ESPECIALLY if you don’t fully understand how the law works on your issue. Florida Landlord-Tenant laws can get very complicated and every case is factually different, and you should always seek legal advice directly for your situation. You can schedule a consultation with our attorney at http://www.FloridaTenant.com, or seek the advice of a local landlord-tenant attorney in your county. None of these instructions, forms, or videos available through FloridaTenant.com should be understood as legal advice for your particular situation, and these materials should be augmented by legal advice of an attorney.

Link to the Florida Landlord-Tenant Act: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0083/0083.html

Also, check out the link below regarding our favorite helpful products that are available to help protect tenants from nosy landlords and problem rental properties, like non-destructive ways to deal with rodents and bugs, helpful tools to make sure that the landlord is not entering your home uninvited, and handy stuff to make the property more liveable when the landlord is not trying hard enough. THESE PRODUCTS CAN MAKE TENANT LIVING EASIER AND KEEP LANDLORDS HONEST.

https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Residential Landlord Tenant Law in Florida, including key concepts and formal legal procedures.

By Gabriel Munoz-Calene
Attorney & Counselor at Law

Here is a list of websites and resources shared in this video:

Florida Bar Website

Home

Florida Bar Rights and Duties of Tenants and Landlords
https://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBConsum.nsf/0a92a6dc28e76ae58525700a005d0d53/e21a25a8c288bed98525740800537588!OpenDocument

Florida Bar Landlord Tenant Forms
https://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBConsum.nsf/0a92a6dc28e76ae58525700a005d0d53/a2490d4fa31363a88525771200482bdd!OpenDocument

Pinellas Clerk Website
www.pinellasclerk.org

Pinellas Clerk Landlord Tenant Actions:
https://www.pinellasclerk.org/aspInclude2/ASPInclude.asp?pageName=landlord.htm

Pinellas Clerk Landlord Tenant Forms:
https://www.pinellasclerk.org/aspinclude2/ASPInclude.asp?pageName=landlordforms.htm

Pasco Clerk Website
www.pascoclerk.com

Hillsborough Clerk Website
www.hillsclerk.com

Florida Law Help.Org
http://floridalawhelp.org/

Federal EPA Lead Paint Disclosure
https://www.epa.gov/lead/real-estate-disclosure

Florida Landlord Tenant Act Chapter 83
http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0083/0083.html

Florida Statute 82.045
Remedy for unlawful detention by a transient occupant of residential property.
http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0000-0099/0082/Sections/0082.045.html

Speacial Thanks to the Clearwater Bar and the Peoples Law School
http://www.clearwaterbar.org
http://www.clearwaterbar.org/page/PeoplesLawSchool

If you need legal assistance contact the Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service at:
(800) 342-8011
https://www.floridabar.org/lawyerreferral

Or, in Pinellas County, contact the Clearwater Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at:
727-461-4880
http://www.clearwaterbar.org/page/LRS

About the Video:
Graphics Created with Freepiks
www.freepik.com

Music:
Carefree Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Video Rating: / 5

Security Deposit Basics – Florida Landlord-Tenant Law and Florida Renter’s Rights

The basics of security deposits under Florida’s Landlord-Tenant Act (for residential property):

(1) The landlord has to hold the tenant’s security deposit “in trust” for the tenant, and cannot spend the security deposit money and cannot mix the security deposit money with the landlord’s own money (unless the landlord buys a special kind of insurance called a bond). Landlords just about never get a bond for security deposits, so essentially the law prohibits the landlord from mixing your security deposit money with the money of the landlord.

(2) The landlord must notify the tenant in writing of where the security deposit money is being held (i.e. what bank).

(3) The landlord has special duties to notify the tenant of when and how the landlord seeks to make a “claim” against the security deposit after the tenant leaves the rental property. Those duties can vary based on how much notice the tenant has provided that the tenant is leaving, whether the tenant leaves on time, whether the tenant was in a lease or was month-to-month, and whether and how the tenant notifies the landlord of the tenant’s forwarding address.

This video and the information provided in it is a free informational service courtesy of www.FloridaTenant.com (a service of Churchill & Wells, LLC).

Links to the forms discussed in our videos:

Florida Lease Termination Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Rent Withholding Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Security Deposit Dispute Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Florida Eviction Defense Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

Settlement Agreement Between Landlord and Tenant Package – https://www.floridatenant.com/links

WARNING: Don’t rely solely on legal forms or instructional videos for legal advice, ESPECIALLY if you don’t fully understand how the law works on your issue. Florida Landlord-Tenant laws can get very complicated and every case is factually different, and you should always seek legal advice directly for your situation. You can schedule a consultation with our attorney at www.FloridaTenant.com, or seek the advice of a local landlord-tenant attorney in your county. None of these instructions, forms, or videos available through FloridaTenant.com should be understood as legal advice for your particular situation, and these materials should be augmented by legal advice of an attorney.

Link to the Florida Landlord-Tenant Act: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0083/0083.html

Also, check out the link below regarding our favorite helpful products that are available to help protect tenants from nosy landlords and problem rental properties, like non-destructive ways to deal with rodents and bugs, helpful tools to make sure that the landlord is not entering your home uninvited, and handy stuff to make the property more liveable when the landlord is not trying hard enough. THESE PRODUCTS CAN MAKE TENANT LIVING EASIER AND KEEP LANDLORDS HONEST.

https://www.floridatenant.com/links
Video Rating: / 5