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Florida- did not set up separate account for security deposit in FL bank.

This is a discussion on Florida- did not set up separate account for security deposit in FL bank. within the Landlord vs Tenant Issues forum, part of the REAL ESTATE & PROPERTY LAW category; I am a landlord who accepted a security deposit for a 3 month seasonal rental. When the 3 month lease ...

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Old May 20th, 2010, 05:15 PM   #1
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Default Florida- did not set up separate account for security deposit in FL bank.

I am a landlord who accepted a security deposit for a 3 month seasonal rental. When the 3 month lease expired I tried to hold the tenant responsible for damages and withheld the appropriate part of his deposit. My mistake was comingling his security deposit with my own account (he claims violates FL s. 83.49). I realized this mistake 2 months into the lease and rectified it, but 83.49 states that I should have never comingled funds to begin with. Realistically, am I in trouble here, and to what extent?

Thanks,

Patrick
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Old May 20th, 2010, 05:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: Florida- did not set up separate account for security deposit in FL bank.

Also, is there anything I can do about it now?
Thanks, P.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 07:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: Florida- did not set up separate account for security deposit in FL bank.

Hi Patrick

Well I am not an attorney.. but practice Prop Mgt is 3 states...

1. the primary issue I would be the damage..
you should have a move in report.. when the tenant took possession... and you both signed.. (hopefully)

you compare it to the move out condition and deduct per FL law from there.. and it sounds like your on top of that..


2. although you did make a mistake in the deposits.. it would seem.. that does not I would thing offset any damage ..he is trying to confuse the two issues..

3. learning lession.. spend some $ and consult an atty.. specializing in LL law.. like paying for schooling..
see what he says and what penalty if any for your mistake.. of course usually a judge does that part..
it all depends on what FL law says..

good luck
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Old May 20th, 2010, 10:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Florida- did not set up separate account for security deposit in FL bank.

Did you see this section of FL statute 83.49?

(4) The provisions of this section do not apply to transient rentals by hotels or motels as defined in chapter 509; nor do they apply in those instances in which the amount of rent or deposit, or both, is regulated by law or by rules or regulations of a public body, including public housing authorities and federally administered or regulated housing programs including s. 202, s. 221(d)(3) and (4), s. 236, or s. 8 of the National Housing Act, as amended, other than for rent stabilization. With the exception of subsections (3), (5), and (6), this section is not applicable to housing authorities or public housing agencies created pursuant to chapter 421 or other statutes.

As a transient and seasonal rental, you might be exempt. See Chapter 509.242 to see if your place qualifies.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 09:04 AM   #5
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Default Re: Florida- did not set up separate account for security deposit in FL bank.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, but my place does not qualify as a public lodging establishment based on 509.542.

What I want to know is, what penalties, if any, can I expect in court if I withhold the legitimate amount that I can withhold from the tenant's security deposit, if the tenant presses my failure to comply with this technicality (opening a separate account in a FL bank when I received his check)? He is threatening me with this. I am not often a "landlord"- this is my place and I just decided to rent it out last winter for 3 months- I imagined it would go flawlessly and I never thought of checking the FL statutes at the time.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 11:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Florida- did not set up separate account for security deposit in FL bank.

Look at 82.49-2c which in part reads:
"This subsection does not apply to any landlord who rents fewer than five individual dwelling units."
Does that apply?
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Old May 21st, 2010, 12:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: Florida- did not set up separate account for security deposit in FL bank.

Thanks. OP again. The way I read it, 83.49 2c would not work in my defense. It states:

"Subsequent to providing such notice, if the landlord changes the manner or location in which he or she is holding the advance rent or security deposit, he or she shall notify the tenant within 30 days of the change according to the provisions herein set forth. This subsection does not apply to any landlord who rents fewer than five individual dwelling units."

The way I read that, I would not have to notify the tenant of a CHANGE in how I held the deposit, but it would not absolve me from not setting up a separate account for the deposit to begin with, and providing the tenant with the necessary info. Do you agree?

If this is correct, my question is, how does a judge deal with such a violation of a technicality, that clearly did not result in harm to the plaintiff and was clearly due to honest oversight on my part?

Would it result in a ruling that I must return the security deposit in full, regardless of whether my withholding funds was otherwise valid?

Or worse, could I be forced to pay the plaintiff's legal fees and perhaps suffer some other punitive measure?
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Old May 21st, 2010, 01:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: Florida- did not set up separate account for security deposit in FL bank.

I doubt that you would have to return the deposit in full. You rectified your mistake within the month. You did put it in a separate account, just did it late. If you have proof of the damages to the place, I think you will prevail. FL is a fairly LL friendly state.
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