When you rent out an apartment, home, or other residential accommodation, you have certain responsibilities as a landlord. Foremost among them is the obligation to keep the unit in good condition. In this blog, we’ll review your responsibility when it comes to repairs and go over situations when the cost can come out of your tenant’s security deposit.
Landlord’s Duty to Repair in Florida
During the tenancy, you must maintain the structural elements of the unit or building, including the roof, floors, steps, windows, doors, and exterior walls. Your other maintenance responsibilities include:
- Keeping the heating and plumbing in good shape
- Exterminating vermin and insects
- Keeping common areas in a safe and clean condition
- Maintaining working smoke detection devices
- Repairing any damage to screens annually
If a tenant requests repairs, you have up to seven (7) days to complete them, provided that request involves an issue that violates Florida’s warranty of habitability. While it is typically your responsibility to cover the repair costs, under certain circumstances you may be able to deduct it from the tenant’s security deposit.
Using the Security Deposit for Repair Costs
While you cannot normally deduct repair costs related to ordinary wear and tear, one of the purposes of a security deposit is to cushion you financially against any property damage that could result from tenant negligence or carelessness. Examples include:
- Smashed or broken bathroom or kitchen fixtures
- Floors or carpets damaged by pet urine
- Doors broken off the hinges
- Broken windows
- Cracked or broken tiles
- Deeply scratched hardwood floors
If your tenant causes this type of damage, you are legally permitted to deduct reasonable repair costs from their security deposit.
What if the Tenant Objects to Using Their Security Deposit?
Your tenant may object to you using the security deposit to cover damages that they caused, either directly or indirectly. If the situation looks like it may escalate or you aren’t sure if you can deduct for certain damages, your best option is to consult with the Florida landlords’ rights attorney who can explain how state law applies to your situation.
Do You Need to Speak With a Florida Property Law Attorney?
If you are a Florida landlord with questions about your obligation to cover repair costs, let the landlord-tenant lawyers at Atlas Law help. The right advice from an attorney can ensure that any repair deductions are legally valid and, if the situation does escalate, we will protect your rights at any subsequent hearings or legal actions. To schedule a consultation today, call 813.241.8269.