Counsel’s Corner – Security Deposit Claim Timelines

Counsel’s Corner – Security Deposit Claim Timelines

In Florida, the landlord has 30 days to give tenant written notice by certified mail of his/her intent to impose a claim against a security deposit and the reason for imposing such claim(s). Failure to provide the written notice within 30 the written notice within 30 days results in automatic forfeiture of the entire deposit to the tenant.

In Alabama, the landlord has 60 days from the termination of the tenancy to refund the security deposit or make a claim against the security and deliver an itemized list and accounting of the amounts withheld from the security deposit. Failure to provide the refund or accounting within the 60 day period requires the landlord pay the tenant double the tenant’s original deposit.

Security Deposit Disputes:

In Florida, the tenant has 15 days from the date of tenant’s receipt of landlord’s notice of claim to object to a claim against the deposit, otherwise, the landlord has 30 days from the date of their original notice of claim to remit the balance of the deposit (less the claim) to the tenant. Tenant’s failure to make a timely notice within the 15 day period does not waive tenant’s right to seek damages against the landlord in a separate court action.

In Alabama, there is no statutory deadline for the landlord to respond to tenant’s objection to a claim made against the deposit. The tenant’s right to file suit for damages is preserved under the applicable rules of civil procedure and statutes of limitation. For disputes based on a written contract, the statute of limitations is five years in Florida and six years in Alabama.

A consideration that owners should keep in mind is that the prevailing party is entitled to reimbursement of court costs plus reasonable attorney fees.

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