Florida Security Deposit Collections & Holdings

Florida Security Deposit Collections & Holdings

Last Updated: June 5, 2023 by Ashley Porter

To learn about laws on security deposit returns in Florida, click here.

Maximum Security Deposit Allowed in Florida

There is no limit on how much a landlord can collect for a security deposit in Florida. While other states impose a maximum security deposit limit, such as one month’s rent, Florida does not.

Landlords can give tenants the option of paying a nonrefundable fee in installments instead of a security deposit. There is no limit to the amount of the fee, but it must be agreed upon by the landlord and tenant in writing.

If the landlord and tenant choose the nonrefundable fee in lieu of a security deposit, the lease agreement must include several disclosures including:

  • That the fee is nonrefundable and optional and the tenant can pay a security deposit at any time to end the installment payments
  • Whether any charges apply for the option to pay the nonrefundable fee
  • That the fee does not limit or change the tenant’s obligation to pay rent, other bills, and the cost of damages excluding normal wear and tear
  • That if the landlord uses the fee to purchase insurance, the tenant is not insured as a result
  • A written disclosure in substantially the same format as Section 83.491(5)(b) (see the section in all caps)
  • The amount and due date of the fee

Can Landlords Charge an Additional Pet Deposit in Florida?

Yes, landlords can collect an additional pet deposit in Florida, except for service dogs and emotional support animals.

How Much Rent Can a Landlord Collect Upfront in Florida?

There is no limit on the amount of rent that can be collected upfront in Florida. Many states have a limit on the amount of rent that can be collected at once, but Florida does not.

However, if rent is collected in advance beyond the immediate rental period, it must be handled in the same way as a security deposit.

Security Deposit Collections in Florida

When collecting a security deposit, landlords in Florida must provide a written disclosure  to the tenant including:

  • The name and address of the depository where the security deposit will be kept or whether there is a surety bond
  • If the tenant is entitled to interest on their security deposit
  • A word-for-word recital of the disclosure provided in Section 83.4(2)(d) of the Florida Statutes (see the section in all caps)

The written disclosure must be provided within 30 days after receiving the security deposit and can be included in the lease agreement or provided by hand delivery or mail. If the landlord fails to provide the written disclosure, they forfeit their right to make deductions from the security deposit.

Do Landlords Have to Provide a Receipt for the Security Deposit in Florida?

While landlords in Florida must provide a written disclosure to tenants containing information such as where the security deposit will be held, an additional receipt of the deposit is not required to be provided.

What Obligations Do Landlords Have to Establish the Condition at Move-in in Florida?

Florida law does not require landlords to document or establish the property’s condition at move-in. While other states legally require a written inventory of damages to be completed when collecting a security deposit, Florida does not.

Security Deposit Holdings in Florida

Landlords in Florida must hold security deposits in one of three places: a non-interest-bearing account, an interest-bearing account, or by posting a surety bond.

Option 1: Non-interest-bearing account. The landlord may place the security deposit in a Florida bank account that does not gain interest. The account must only be used for security deposits.

Option 2: Interest-bearing account. The landlord may place the security deposit in a Florida bank account that gains interest. The landlord must credit the tenant either 75% of the interest earned or 5% interest per year. The landlord can choose whichever amount they want, even though it may be the lower of the two choices. The account must only be used for security deposits.

Option 3: Surety bond. The landlord may post a surety bond with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where the property is located. The landlord must credit the tenant interest at a rate of 5% annually.

The bond must be executed by a company that is licensed in the state of Florida. The bond must be in the amount of the security deposit plus advance rent or $50,000, whichever is less.

However, if the landlord leases property in five or more counties, they may choose to post a bond with the office of the Secretary of State in the amount held for the tenants or $250,000, whichever is less.

If the landlord changes their manner of holding the deposit, they must notify the tenant in writing within 30 days, unless they lease four or fewer rental units.

Are Tenants Entitled to Interest on Their Security Deposit in Florida?

Landlords in Florida do owe interest on security deposits, but only if they’re held in an interest-bearing account or if a surety bond is posted. Landlords in Florida may choose to hold security deposits in a non-interest-bearing account, in which no interest would be due to the tenants.

If a tenant is entitled to interest on their security deposit, it must be either credited towards rent or paid to the tenant directly once per year. A tenant that wrongfully terminates their lease forfeits their right to their interest.

How Are Security Deposits Accounted for in Florida?

Security deposits are not considered taxable income when they are collected.

What Happens to a Security Deposit When the Property is Sold in Florida?

When a property is sold in Florida, the seller must transfer the security deposit along with an accurate record of the amount with interest, if any, to the new owner, who must handle it according to the same rules.

Whether the property is sold or not, landlords have 15 days after the lease ends to return the security deposit if there are no deductions and 60 days if there are deductions.