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When you first set out to become a landlord in Florida, you probably hoped for the best in regards to your tenants. Unfortunately, hopes are no guarantee that you never have to worry about problematic occupants.

If you ever face a situation in which you feel justified in keeping a portion of a problem tenant’s security deposit, see what MoneyCrashers has to say about the situation. Learn how to stay on the right side of the law.

A complete loss of a security deposit

Some situations justify you seizing all of a tenant’s security deposit. Extensive cleaning and repairs after a tenant moves out, failing to pay rent and damaging property are all solid reasons for keeping a tenant’s security deposit. To be on the safe side, it is good to provide tenants with an exact cost breakdown of the issue that led to them forfeiting their security deposit, just to cover your legal bases.

A partial loss of a security deposit

In other instances, you may only need to deduct a percentage of a deposit before giving the rest back to the tenant. For instance, a tenant may not have done a good job of cleaning out a unit upon moving out, leaving you to cover the cost of anything left undone. Minor repairs and anything that goes beyond normal wear and tear could necessitate you holding on to a portion of the security deposit.

Say that a tenant does not get your express permission before modifying her or his unit. Even if you like the new color of paint on the walls, landscape design or wall shelves, you can deduct the cost of restoring the unit to its original state from the security deposit.

This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.