If you want to deduct repairs from a tenant security deposit how much time to you have in your state? Dear Landlord Hank this week takes on this question from personal experience.

I recently had an owner come to me for help leasing his condo.

He said he could manage the tenant thereafter.

To me, he seemed new to property management so I asked him if he knew how to handle his recently departed tenants hefty security deposit?

He said he wasn’t sure so I passed on a copy of the Florida Statutes regarding this situation, an accounting sheet to make it easy, and an FAQ.

Then I told him that the issue was time sensitive and that if this was not dealt with properly, the tenant may be entitled to a full refund of deposit.

A week went by and I asked owner if the deposit had been dealt with? He said he was waiting on more receipts from work.

Claims against tenant security deposit may have limits in your state

I again stressed that he only had so much time to deal with the situation.

Well, you can guess what happened.

Due to holidays, and other excuses, the owner didn’t have all work completed with receipts until after the 30-day time limit had expired. In Florida, if you are going to make a claim against a tenant security deposit, you must do so within 30 days of the date the tenant vacated-no exceptions.

The owner received a letter from tenant’s attorney demanding a full refund of the deposit due to non-compliance with the law.

So owner was forced to make a full refund.

Instead of having the tenant funds to take care of tenant damage, the owner had to pay for all repairs himself.

Be smart and do the right thing and follow your states laws. If you don’t know for sure what the laws are in your area find out today!


Hank Rossi

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Landlord Hank at work on one of his properties