I just finished my first year lease of a house. My landlord sent me a new lease for the next year but omitted the security deposit that I had paid on the first lease. When I asked the landlord about it she claimed that she deducted late fees and penalties from my security deposit and that I no longer had any security deposit left. I paid the rent most of the time on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd. I didn’t consider paying on the 2nd or 3rd as being late, thinking that I had to be givin a 3 or 5 day grace period by law. Am I right or is she right? Is she is able to charge me $50.00 everytime I paid on the 2nd or 3rd of the month? I had $1200.00 in security deposit. Even if I paid late every month that is still only a possible $600.00 in late fees. She says that I don’t have any security deposit left. What can I do? She has my money and is threatening to evict me if I don’t sign the new lease as is. If I do sign the lease do I give up any rights to the rest of my security deposit?

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Comments (8)

HMMMMMM says:
May 9, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I would agree with almost everything the attorney said.

However, read your lease. There may be an automatic extension on a month-to-month basis which would require either the renter or owner to give a 30 day notice of termination.

However, this agreement would then be longer than 1 year in length and therefore non-enforceable. However, if the owner wrote the lease, the agreemnt would be interpreted to give the renter the benefit of the doubt.

Did I mention I am not an attorney and you may need one?

Anyway, start looking for a place to live. Tell your landlord you have an attorney on speed dail.

Do your best to work it out and move on with your life.

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gailforce_wind says:
May 9, 2010 at 11:53 am

In most states a security deposit cannot be used for rent or charges, only damage to the property caused by the tenant. I doubt Florida is any different. The terms and conditions of the lease are set forth in the lease, if there is a grace period, it will be in the lease in writing. If not, the charges can't be set off like that, you would have to be billed the late fees and asked to pay them. Only at the end or termination of the lease can the security deposit be tolled upon.

See a lawyer right away.

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attorney_johnson says:
May 9, 2010 at 11:41 am

I am a Florida landlord-tenant attorney. The disposition of your security deposit will be determined according to the terms of your original written lease. The Landlord-tenant statute, F.S. 83 does not provide for late fees and does not grant a "grace period."

The good news is that the statute is very specific on how a claim against a security deposit must be made (section 83.49(3)). In order to impose a claim against your security deposit the landlord must send you a written claim by certified mail within 30 days of the end of the lease, or the right to make any claim at all is forfeited.

If the claim is property made be certified mail, you must object within 15 days. Then you can sue the landlord in small claims court. The party that looses the case has to pay for both side's attorney fees.

Now that your lease is up, you are a "tenant at sufferance" and technically liable for double rent until you sign a new lease or the landlord accepts a rental payment.

Signing the new lease without a security deposit on it does not affect your rights to your old deposit. Since you are not under a lease at the moment you may move with no penalty. Just be sure to give the landlord your forwarding address, because if she doesn't know where you moved, she can send her claim against your deposit to your old rental unit.

Feel free to contact me through my website for more information.

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realestatelawyer says:
May 9, 2010 at 10:43 am

Your landlord has definitely violated the law. I strongly recommend that you not sign the renewal lease. Instead you should look for a new place to live immediately. Once you are out of there you should file a lawsuit in small claims court for the return of your security plus punitive damages, court costs and attorney fees.

The landlord was required to give you 30 days advance written notice before deducting any money from your security deposit. You were entitled to dispute those claims. Florida's law concerning security deposits is Title VI, Chapter 83, Section 83.49. You can read it at

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=Ch0083/SEC49.HTM&Title=-%3E2005-%3ECh0083-%3ESection%2049#0083.49

In response to your original question, there is no grace period by law for payment of rent. But according to Florida law your landlord cannot deduct late fees from your security deposit without written notice to you. In addition you should argue in court that your landlord did not have the right to charge you ANY late fees unless those fees were listed in the written lease or some other document that you signed acknowledging such fees.

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Amanda : says:
May 9, 2010 at 10:09 am

im pretty sure you can go almost 2 weeks without paying rent.... I know thats how it is here, I mean they can say something but they cannot do anything about it..... It is almost impossible to evect someone... so, paying your rent like by a few days, its never a good reason....

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mom2trinityj says:
May 9, 2010 at 10:04 am

Here's some information on Florida law as it relates to renter's rights.

http://floridapirg.org/consumer/renters/rrpage4.htm

Upon cursory examination, it appears that what your landlord did was illegal, as deposits are supposed to be held in a manner prescribed by law.

Personally, I'd start looking for a new place to live, ASAP. No way would I rent again from someone who is so clearly crooked.

You will probably have to take your landlord to small claims court in order to recoup what he/she owes you.

Listed in the source link below is a list of resources to which you can turn for assistance in resolving your issues with your landlord.

Good luck!

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jenlyn70 says:
May 9, 2010 at 9:13 am

The lease you signed should have said specifically when and how much a late charge would be. They are not supposed to be taking out of a security deposit, they should have been telling you and wanting it when the rent for that month was paid. This is a scam, you better not sign anything. Get out your old lease and go over it.

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T_Girl says:
May 9, 2010 at 8:40 am

That doesn't sound right to me. It should be in your lease if there is a grace period, but even so it seems like she's ripped you off. Perhaps you should find out where you stand legally?

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