top of page
  • Writer's pictureEd DiMarco MS, MA

Florida's New Law on Fees Instead of Security Deposits for Landlords and Tenants

Florida's New Law on Fees in Lieu of Security Deposits

Florida's new legislation, CS/HB 133: Fees in Lieu of Security Deposits, notably amends how security deposits can be handled, introducing the option for landlords to charge a fee instead. This pivotal change, effective on July 1, 2023, aims to offer flexibility and potentially reduce the financial barrier for tenants entering lease agreements. Below, we delve into the nuances of this law, its requirements for landlords and tenants, and the implications for the rental market.


Overview of House Bill 133

The newly enacted law authorizes landlords to offer tenants the choice to pay a fee in place of a traditional security deposit. It also allows for the security deposit to be paid in installments, providing a more accessible path for tenants who might struggle with upfront costs. This legislative shift reflects a growing trend to adapt rental practices to the evolving financial landscapes faced by renters.


Key Provisions of the Law

  1. Fee in Lieu of Security Deposit:

  • Option to Pay a Fee: Landlords can offer tenants the option to pay a non-refundable fee instead of a security deposit. This can make the move-in process more affordable for some tenants.

  • Monthly Installments: Tenants may also choose to pay the security deposit in agreed-upon monthly installments if they prefer not to pay the entire amount upfront.

  1. Notification and Claims:

  • Landlord Obligations: After tenancy ends, landlords must notify tenants within 30 days if there are outstanding costs due to damages or unpaid rent.

  • Insurance Claims: Landlords are prohibited from filing insurance claims for these costs until at least 15 days after notifying the tenant, providing a window for tenants to address the claims.

  1. Written Agreement:

  • Mandatory Agreement: If a tenant opts for the fee in lieu of a deposit, a written agreement must be signed, detailing the fee amount, collection process, and conditions under which a tenant might revert to a traditional security deposit.

  • Disclosure Requirements: The agreement must include specific disclosures about the fee not being a security deposit and not absolving the tenant from obligations for damages beyond normal wear and tear.

  1. Landlord Discretion and Non-Discrimination:

  • Discretion in Offering: Landlords can decide whether to offer the fee option.

  • Fair Treatment: Landlords cannot deny an application based on a tenant’s choice to pay a fee instead of a deposit and must offer this option to all new tenants if provided to any.

  1. Implementation and Applicability:

  • Effective Date: The law applies to all rental agreements entered into or renewed on or after July 1, 2023.

  • Construction and Exceptions: The law outlines how it should be interpreted and any exceptions to its provisions.


Implications for Landlords and Tenants

This law provides landlords with a new tool to streamline the leasing process and reduce barriers for prospective tenants. However, it also imposes strict guidelines on handling fees and deposits, requiring careful compliance to avoid legal pitfalls.


Tenants benefit from increased flexibility in managing move-in costs, making transitioning to a new rental much easier financially. However, tenants must know that the fee is non-refundable and understand the conditions under which they can switch back to a traditional deposit format.


HB 133 represents a significant update to rental deposit regulations in Florida. It aims to provide flexibility and protect landlords and tenants through clear guidelines and requirements. Both parties should familiarize themselves with the details of the law to fully understand their rights and responsibilities under these new provisions.


References:

Commentaires


bottom of page