The Landlord and Tenant Act applies to the rental of dwelling units. Under Florida Law, a person must be at least 18 years old to enter into a rental agreement.
Deposits and Advance Rents. A security deposit is typically paid to guarantee that the property will be left in good condition. Rent in advance is also often paid (typically last month’s rent). The Landlord and Tenant Act mandates how landlords (not real estate brokers) must account for and handle tenant’s deposits and advance rents. The landlord is typically the owner of the dwelling unit. When money is given to the landlord as a security deposit or advance rent, the landlord is obligated to account for such deposits in one of three ways:
- Hold the money in a separate non-interest-bearing Florida bank account for the benefit of the tenant. The landlord may not commingle, hypothecate-that is, pledge as security for a debt-or use any such funds until the funds are due the landlord.
- 2.Hold the money in a separate interest-bearing Florida bank account for the benefit of the tenant. In this case the landlord must pay the tenant at least 75%of the annualized average interest rate payable on the account or 5% per year, simple interest, whichever the landlord elects. The landlord must not commingle, hypothetical, or use any such funds until actually due the landlord.
- Post a surety bond with the clerk of the circuit court in the county in which the rental property is located in the total amount of the security deposits and advance rents or $50,000, whichever is less. The landlord must pay the tenant interest on the security deposit or advancement held on behalf of the tenant at the rate of 5% per year simple interest. Landlords who choose this method are not obligated to place the funds (deposits) into a separate account.
The landlord must give tenants written notice of the advance rent or security deposit either in the lease agreement or within 30 days after receipt of advance rent or security deposit. The notice must be given on person or by mail to the tenant. The notice must indicate the name and address of the depository where the advance rent or security deposit is being held, or state that the landlord gas posted a surety bond as provided by law. The notice must also indicate whether the tenant is entitled to interest on the deposit, The act also requires that the notice includes the disclosure for the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.