I will assume here that we are talking about a typical scenario where the the Landlord will not be posting a surety bond.
In Florida, if a Tenant gives advanced rent then only the first and second rental periods (usually months) may be distributed to the Owner and ‘spent’ on the first day of the lease. The third period (month?), fourth etc., last period and security deposits must be held in a separate Florida banking institution. The funds in this bank account must NOT be comingled with other funds of the Landlord. AND, the Landlord must acknowledge the funds being held and notify the Tennant in which Florida banking institution the funds are being held. The following sections of the statute apply:
- ‘FS 83.49?(1)Whenever money is deposited or advanced by a tenant on a rental agreement as security for performance of the rental agreement or as advance rent for other than the next immediate rental period, the landlord or the landlord’s agent shall either:?(a)Hold the total amount of such money in a separate non-interest-bearing account in a Florida banking institution for the benefit of the tenant or tenants. The landlord shall not commingle such moneys with any other funds of the landlord or hypothecate, pledge, or in any other way make use of such moneys until such moneys are actually due the landlord;’
- ‘FS 83.49 (2) The landlord shall, in the lease agreement or within 30 days after receipt of advance rent or a security deposit, give written notice to the tenant which includes disclosure of the advance rent or security deposit.’ And the name and address of the banking institution.
I use the following Notice which incorporates the required language of the statute….
This serves as Notice from the Landlord to the Tenant that the Landlord is holding [$x,xxx.xx] of advance rent or security deposit. These funds are being held in a non-interest bearing account at the following Florida banking institution: [INSERT NAME AND ADDRESS OF THE BANK]
YOUR LEASE REQUIRES PAYMENT OF CERTAIN DEPOSITS. THE LANDLORD MAY TRANSFER ADVANCE RENTS TO THE LANDLORD’S ACCOUNT AS THEY ARE DUE AND WITHOUT NOTICE. WHEN YOU MOVE OUT, YOU MUST GIVE THE LANDLORD YOUR NEW ADDRESS SO THAT THE LANDLORD CAN SEND YOU NOTICES REGARDING YOUR DEPOSIT. THE LANDLORD MUST MAIL YOU NOTICE, WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER YOU MOVE OUT, OF THE LANDLORD’S INTENT TO IMPOSE A CLAIM AGAINST THE DEPOSIT. IF YOU DO NOT REPLY TO THE LANDLORD STATING YOUR OBJECTION TO THE CLAIM WITHIN 15 DAYS AFTER RECEIPT OF THE LANDLORD’S NOTICE, THE LANDLORD WILL COLLECT THE CLAIM AND MUST MAIL YOU THE REMAINING DEPOSIT, IF ANY.
IF THE LANDLORD FAILS TO TIMELY MAIL YOU NOTICE, THE LANDLORD MUST RETURN THE DEPOSIT BUT MAY LATER FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST YOU FOR DAMAGES. IF YOU FAIL TO TIMELY OBJECT TO A CLAIM, THE LANDLORD MAY COLLECT FROM THE DEPOSIT, BUT YOU MAY LATER FILE A LAWSUIT CLAIMING A REFUND.
YOU SHOULD ATTEMPT TO INFORMALLY RESOLVE ANY DISPUTE BEFORE FILING A LAWSUIT. GENERALLY, THE PARTY IN WHOSE FAVOR A JUDGMENT IS RENDERED WILL BE AWARDED COSTS AND ATTORNEY FEES PAYABLE BY THE LOSING PARTY.
THIS DISCLOSURE IS BASIC. PLEASE REFER TO PART II OF CHAPTER 83, FLORIDA STATUTES, TO DETERMINE YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS.