One of the most common calls we get is related to security deposit disputes. Below, are five tips to protect your security deposit when renting a property.
Do a walk-through of the property:
The internet makes finding a new apartment easier than ever. However, don’t take those pictures of the pristine carpet and sparkling bathroom at face value. You have no idea when those pictures were actually taken. Schedule a walk-through of the property before signing your lease so that you can make note of the condition of the property. You may find that some issues can be easily fixed, or you may find the property isn’t for you after all. The last thing you want to do is sign a lease for a property with pre-existing damage and you do not know about it until you move in.
Almost all of us have a camera on our phone. Use it. As you do the walkthrough, take your own pictures. Broken blinds, carpet stains, chipped tile, etc. One of the most common things I hear from clients when they receive an invoice after moving out is “that was already like that when I moved in.” Well, what evidence do you have to prove it? Cover your bases and leave no room for dispute.
Document Your Concerns:
Throughout your tenancy, things may break or become damaged. It happens. If your landlord is responsible for making a repair, make a request for the repair. Keep records and proof of the times you have made the request.
Follow the Law:
If you have a concern or repair request, you should strictly follow the procedure’s outlined in Florida Statutes or your lease. If you are required to send something certified mail, don’t assume sending regular mail or by Fed Ex will be sufficient. An email is not necessarily a sufficient substitute form of communication. Trust me, I get it – you told the landlord about the issue and that should be enough. Unfortunately, if you did not tell the landlord in the proper manner, you may have problems in the future.
Call a lawyer sooner, rather than later:
It is best to attempt to resolve matters without getting legal representation involved. However, sometimes it is not possible. If you reach a point where you feel like your landlord is unreasonable, and you are considering taking matters into your own hands, that is the time to call a lawyer. It is a lot easier for us to address the issue in the beginning rather than after a mistake has been made.
If you have a Florida security deposit question or other Florida landlord-tenant question, please call the experienced Orlando landlord-tenant attorneys at Mosaic Law Firm. We are here to help you.