If you rent a home (house, apartment), you usually have to come up with a security deposit. This deposit is supposed to cover any potential damage to the rental property, missing rental payments, etc. It also means that you should expect to get it back in case of no damage and no outstanding rent.
Before moving in
- Before moving in, take pictures of any visible pre-existing damages, in case you need proof that they already were there when you moved in.
- Inform yourself what kind of changes you are allowed/forbidden to make.
- The less damage occurs during your stay, the less needs to be repaired. There is a certain risk for cosmetic damages that might happen while moving in and out. Make sure to wrap/cushion large pieces of furniture so they don’t cause any scratches in the paint of the walls or door frames. If you want to be extra careful, you can take additional measures for wall and floor protection.
During your stay
- Keep receipts/written documentation about your rental and utility payments, so you can prove you have met all your financial obligations to the landlord.
- Your rental agreement usually contains information about the “Dos and Don’ts” of both tenant and landlord. You can find a great overview of the Landlord/Tenant Law in Florida here. Adhering to these obligations and responsibilities should be a good basis for the return of your security deposit (or most of it)
When moving out
- Make sure to return all of your keys to the property.
- Leave the property in a clean condition, so there is no risk for the landlord withholding part of the deposit for cleaning services.
Security deposit – the legalities
We cannot offer you any legal advice about your rights (and obligations) as a renter. What we can do is provide you with some general information.
If you would like to read up on the legal aspects of security deposits, you can do this here for the state of Florida.
But what if you do have problems with the return of your security deposit and you do need to file a claim? You can find an overview of how to go the legal route via the Small Claims Court in this article on Legalzoom.com.
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