INSTRUCTIONS TO IMPOSE CLAIM ON SECURITY DEPOSIT
Name all persons named on the lease and any others who you know to be residing in the subject premises. Do not name minors.
Landlord has recovered and accepted possession of the leased premises from the tenant. Note: according to the statute you don't have to send this notice if the tenant vacated the premises prior to the end of a lease term, or if on an oral lease, who doesn't give seven days written notice by certified mail prior to vacating at the end of a month-to-month or week-to-week lease term. I recommend that you issue the notice anyway. Its cheaper than defense costs if the tenant sues you for his deposit anyway. If you were required to send the notice and did not, you have to return the entire security deposit no matter how much damage the tenant did. The fact that the tenant owed back rent does not eliminate the requirement to send a notice of claim against the security deposit. The looser of a lawsuit over the security deposit pays the winner's attorney's fees, which are usually more than the deposit was, so be reasonable in imposing your claims.
No claim: The landlord has Fifteen (15) days from the day the tenant vacates the premises to refund the deposit if not making a claim.
Claim: The landlord has thirty (30) days to issue a written claim against the security deposit.
The statute requires you to use the attached form. Do not alter it. You must specify the damage. The tenant is entitled to reasonable wear and tear in light of the length of his occupation. If the tenant has leased the premises for ten years, he is entitled to a lot of wear and tear. The landlord may not claim for routine cleaning. Take pictures of the damage. Keep receipts for repairs done. If the landlord does the repairs himself, he may recover the "reasonable" value of the work.
Hand deliver, post, or certified mail to the tenants last know address. If last known address may be the leased premises, send the notice to the leased premises by certified mail.
The Tenant's Obligation:
If the tenant objects to the landlord's claim on his security deposit, the tenant must mail a written objection to the landlord within fifteen days of receipt of the claim. If the tenant does not mail his objection within fifteen days, the objection is deemed waived - no matter how unreasonable. If the objection is made on time, the issue remains open, and the tenant is free to file a lawsuit against the landlord for the deposit.
Law Offices of:
Alexander Patrick Johnson,
420 SE 13th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Telephone (954) 779-7050