• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

My Landlord won't return my whole security deposit

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.


Junior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Florida

I recently moved out of a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house in Manatee County, Florida in which my family and I thouroughly cleaned, filled all picture nail holes, and vaccuumed prior to vacating. My landlord, who resides in California, waited over two months to send me a refund of my security deposit, of which, he deducted $635.89 for "repairs and cleaning". Keep in mind that he has not to this date supplied us with a copy of the bill to substantiate his claims. Now I am out $635.89 and he has no intention of paying it back to me. Now, as I understand it, according to Florida Statute 83.49(3) states as follows:

When you move out, the landlord must either return your deposit within 15 days of termination of the rental agreement, if the landlord does not intend to impose a claim upon the security deposit; or justify in writing by certified mail, to the tenant's last known mailing address within 30-days upon termination of a rental agreement, as to why they are keeping a portion of or all of the deposit. If the notice is not sent as required within the 30-day period, the landlord forfeits his/her right to impose a claim upon the deposit, unless you fail to give proper notice prior to vacating.

I never did receive a written notice of claim as stated in the above-mentioned statute, by the way. If I am not mistaken, I am entitled to the entire security deposit, right? But how do I get it back when he lives in California and I live in Florida?

I am on a very tight budget and really need him to pay me the money he owes. Please help.


One other thing that I forgot to ask above; Can I cash the check that he has sent me and still sue for the rest or does cashing the check signify that I am satisfied with the refund?
Last edited:


Senior Member
yup sue in small claims court. When you file your claim to be heard list on it that the LL failed to follow the law regarding deposit disposition and has not sent you any notices and now you want the entire deposit back as well as your filing fees. Make sure you show up for court and have with you any pics you took of the units final condition and if you had help cleaning the unit ask the person who helped you to come with you to court.


Junior Member
if what u r saying is all true, sue him .. don;t let him get a way with it just becasue u may be too lazy or scared to go after it . .it is not that hard to sue in small court . .all u need is some common sense and honesty and the judge will see .. i sued my tenants at one point for damges to the house and although i was never able to coolect any mony, it made me feel good :) .. oh, remember to sue him a bit more than the amount for putting u through this. good luck .

Mrs. D

oh, remember to sue him a bit more than the amount for putting u through this. good luck .
This is not generally the way small claims court works. Check your local area's small claims court website, but in the 4 different states I have lived in, every one said you weren't allowed to sue for things like travel expenses, lost wages, etc., associated with your filing suit. That said, you may be able to sue for more than your deposit. Go back to the statute you found and see if it says whether tenants are allowed to sue for 2 or 3 times the unreturned deposit if the LL fails to return the deposit and/or provide a statement of claims against the deposit within the time allowed. As for your LL living somewhere else, you should sue him in the jurisdiction that your claim results from, i.e., where the rental property is located. If he fails to show up because he lives all the way across the country, that's his problem, a default judgment will be entered against him as long as your claim has merit (not returning the deposit/providing the statement in a timely manner gives it merit).

Find the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Issue!

Fast, Free, and Confidential