Fort Lauderdale, FL asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Florida

Q: My lease ended on October 31, 2017 During walk through inspection everything was good except the realtor noted that the

landlord may want to withhold some security deposit money for landscaping, which I was responsible for maintaining. She said she would check with landlord and get back to me. 35 days later I had not heard from anyone and no money was returned. Has the landlord forfeited his right to withhold any money? This is in Broward County Florida. The realtor says that because something was noted during the walk through they have over the 30 day limit stated in the statute to get quotes. Meanwhile when I contacted them on day 35 they got me a quote the same day for the full amount of the security deposit. I have taken photos of the yard on day 35 and it is clean cut and trimmed. The sod is not great, there are weeds, but it is difficult to maintain sod in south florida, especially after a major hurricane. The last 6 weeks of my lease were after Irma. Also what is normal wear and tear for a yard after 26 months?

Thank you,

Amanda

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2 Lawyer Answers
Answered
  • Boca Raton, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: There is no exception for any days beyond the 30 in the statute. But saying that there is no such thing as "wear and tear" on landscaping; it is alive or dead/in bad shape. If it was not maintained and died under your watch, it is likely at your cost (deposit) to repair/replace now. If you want to argue it you will need to sue, and if you lose and they are entitled to the deposit to fix the landscaping then you will also pay landlord's attorneys fees. So it may not be worth it.

Answered
  • Santa Rosa Beach, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Based upon the facts you present, the landlord failed to meet the 30 day statute. The statute has no provision for extensions or delays, 30 days is 30 days. So yes you can fight the situation. You may want to consult with a tenant attorney on this issue to see what your options are and the lease likely has an attorney fee provision.

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