Should You Pay Cash to Purchase a Rental PropertyAnd when it doesn’t have to be returned at all!

As an owner of residential rental property in Florida, it’s likely that you charge a security deposit before allowing a tenant to move in. If the tenant(s) abides by the lease, pays their rent on time, and keeps the home or unit in good shape, there is a good chance that upon moving out, you will return some – or possibly even all – of these funds.

Prior to doing so, though, a full inspection of the property should be performed in order to determine whether or not there is any damage that is considered beyond “normal wear and tear.”

So, provided that there are no repairs that will deplete all of the funds, when exactly should a tenant’s security deposit be returned to them?

Under Florida law, “A landlord must return the tenant’s security deposit within 15 to 60 days after the tenant has surrendered the rental property to the landlord (that is, returned the keys and vacated the property), depending on whether the tenant disputes any deduction(s) that are taken out of the security deposit.”1

It is also required by the state of Florida that landlords provide tenants advance notice of any deductions that are taken out of the security deposit, and in turn, give the reason why the amount being returned to them is less that what they initially paid.2

While you are not typically allowed to use a tenant’s security deposit for regular cleaning and/or damages that are within the realm of ordinary wear and tear, there are some items that are considered excessive, and in turn, may be repaired or replaced using security deposit funds. Some of these include:

  • Broken bathroom tiles
  • Rips and tears in the carpet
  • Pet urine stains
  • Burns from cigarettes on the carpet, drapes, and countertops
  • Water damage due to window(s) being left open
  • Gouges in walls (from hanging pictures, televisions, and/or other items) that require patching3

If you would rather not deal with the security deposit and rent collection, as well as with emergencies and regular maintenance on your investment property(ies) in Orlando or the surrounding Central Florida area, give us a call and we’ll provide you with more details on how you can still generate passive income and equity build-up, but without having to spend an immense amount of time doing so. We look forward to hearing from you.


  1. Florida Security Deposit Limits and Deadlines. NOLO.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Deducting Cleaning and Repair Costs from a Security Deposit. NOLO.