Is taking this legal from a deposit?

5 Replies

I'm a landlord in Florida and my tenants recently moved out. I was charging them 1000 a month which comes out to about 33 dollars a day. The cats urinated all over the master closet laminate floors which are brand new. These tenants were the first to have the new flooring. The floors are wet and bowing from the absorption of urine. It's going to take me an extra week to remove all the flooring in the closet, clean, and redo. I know I can charge the tenant for materials and labor. My question is, am I able to charge 33.00 a day against the tenants deposit (the rent I would be receiving from new tenants) for missed opportunity cost? Is this legal? Any experienced Florida lawyers or landlords dealt with this issue? 

Probably if your lease with the tenant says you can.  Probably not if the lease doesn't allow for it.

I am not a lawyer and suspect if were to sue, I think your tenant would have a viable question: What makes you think you would have immediate rental such that the loss wouldn't have been incurred anyway?  Rarely is there an occasion in which a tenant wants to move in the day the house is seen.

That repair is less than a day, you want to charge them $33 for one day?  Don’t even think about trying to charge for a week or something.....no this is not something to try and charge for, lost time.

Originally posted by @Logan Jones :

I'm a landlord in Florida and my tenants recently moved out. I was charging them 1000 a month which comes out to about 33 dollars a day. The cats urinated all over the master closet laminate floors which are brand new. These tenants were the first to have the new flooring. The floors are wet and bowing from the absorption of urine. It's going to take me an extra week to remove all the flooring in the closet, clean, and redo. I know I can charge the tenant for materials and labor. My question is, am I able to charge 33.00 a day against the tenants deposit (the rent I would be receiving from new tenants) for missed opportunity cost? Is this legal? Any experienced Florida lawyers or landlords dealt with this issue? 

Here is the thing, you can charge for anything you really want but three very important questions is will follow.

  • Will the tenant be likely to sue you for the charge?
  • Is the tenant likely to win said lawsuit?
  • How much will the damages be of said lawsuit?

Highly unlikely that a judge would uphold the missed rent charge. I think you'd loose that case 10 out of 10 times. I know here in Cleveland if you loose a wrongfully withheld security deposit case the judges award the tenants double damages and 3% interest. However litigation is time consuming and expensive so only about 1 in 100 will even attempt a lawsuit. So maybe it's worth it, maybe it's not. Just make sure you weigh everything out before hand.

  

@Logan Jones Here in Columbus, I had a tenant's kid pull the soap dispenser off the wall and not tell me about it.  Water got in and had to redo that whole wall instead of just fixing the soap dish part.  

When they moved out I charged them for the materials to fix it and for my time. They were also charged for other items and I did not give them back their deposit.  They took me to small claims court.  Magistrate struck the portion I took out for my labor.  Said that was part of being a landlord.  This was my first time going to court and first time dealing with problem tenants.  

After that anytime there was a problem I had a contractor fix it and deduct the full amount.  That is always allowed.