What Can a Landlord Charge for Property Damage?

Most families keep a close eye on their finances. These finances may include expenses related to damages in the kitchen, bathroom, or other rooms in their apartment or house.

Are you concerned about landlord charges for repairs? If you are a renter, you should know what is acceptable and unacceptable for a landlord to charge you when you have entered a rental contract. This contract includes while you are still living in the property and when you move out.

How much can a landlord charge for damages in Florida? 

The answer is complicated. We will describe it below. Some of it will depend on your situation, the language included in your rental contract, and other documentation associated with the property. There are landlord/tenant law guidelines that provide key protections for tenants.

List of Acceptable Landlord Charges for Damages

The following information is a landlord damage charge list of where it would be acceptable to impose fees on tenants:

  • Broken tiles
  • Carpet stains
  • Hole in the wall
  • Missing smoke detector
  • Broken window glass

The amount a landlord charges should depend on the extent of the damage. This can go from less than one hundred dollars to much more if the damage is extensive.

For example, the fees would probably be around eighty dollars or less if you have a dog that had a few accidents on the carpet and created only one or a few small stains. However, if this frequently happens, resulting in stains in the apartment, it could be much more, up to $400 or higher.

Holes in the wall are also a problem that can end in tenant move-out charges. Usually, a few small nail holes are not a problem, but if there are any large holes in the wall, this can lead to about $250 per hole. These holes may occur if you try to put up a shelf incorrectly or with too much weight, or for other reasons. Either way, if this type of damage occurred, it would be an acceptable charge for the landlord.

List of Unacceptable Landlord Charges for Damages

When asking, “How much can a landlord charge for damages?” it is important to know that there are things that tenants should not be held liable for if it occurs in the property you are renting.

The following information is a landlord damage charge list where it would be unacceptable to impose fees on tenants:

  • Cabinet door not fully closing
  • Loose doorknob
  • Paint chipping due to aging
  • Minor scratches on wood flooring
  • Slight matting or discoloration of the carpet
  • Slight discoloring or chips in grout

This list is considered “normal wear and tear” and should not be included on a tenant damage charge list.

For more insight, here are a couple of examples:

You and your family lived in an apartment for two years, with multiple people taking showers in the bathroom. Over time, some chips occurred in the grout in the bathroom due to pressure and minerals in the water. These chips are normal wear and tear.

You and your family lived in an apartment for two and a half years, frequently cooking meals in the kitchen. Over time, some paint started flaking off near the wooden molding due to the heat and steam from the stove. These flakes are also normal wear and tear.

If your landlord charges for wear and tear, you have the right to dispute them.

Can a Landlord Charge More than the Security Deposit When I Move Out?

When you move out of a rental, it is customary to be concerned about the security deposit.

If you cause damage to your apartment, your landlord can charge more than the security deposit if the repairs cost more than what you gave them when you moved into the Florida property.

However, these damages must be acceptable damages under landlord and tenant laws. They cannot be considered normal wear and tear, such as those listed above.Landlord Charge for Damage

The amount the landlord charges you to repair any damages, such as fixing broken tiles or holes in the wall, must be reasonable. They cannot legally charge you prices way higher than the standard rate for the particular type of repair.

If you are facing unreasonable fees for damage repair, you have the right to pursue legal action to fight these illegitimate charges. Landlords should not be able to take advantage of tenants and receive money that is not lawfully owed to them.

Can a Landlord Charge You After You Move Out?

Yes. It is lawful for a landlord to charge you after you move out, but they must notify you within the designated period under the law.

They need to send a written statement within thirty days if they intend to charge you damages from the security deposit. These charges would be in a document sent by certified mail. It would be necessary if additional charges were more than the security deposit. The document should have a detailed description of damages and the related charges to make repairs.

If the landlord sends a written statement of deductions, the tenant has 15 days to object if they feel the apartment damage fees are unreasonable. If an apartment complex is overcharging for damages, you have the right to fight them.

How to Fight Landlord Charges

It is possible to fight landlord charges. These charges can include disputes with deductions from security deposits or payments for damage repairs that go beyond the amount of the deposit you put down to secure the rental.

Is your landlord overcharging for repairs?

You can file a dispute in the county’s small claims court for cases up to $8,000. If the amount is above that, a civil case must be filed. Gather any documentation you have, including the initial move-in inspection checklist, rental agreement, photos of related claimed damages, or other relevant materials and documentation associated with the dispute, such as invoices or estimates for damage repair.

A small claims court case needs to be filed within four to five years regarding the return of a security deposit, depending on whether the agreement was written or oral.

Our experienced, dedicated attorneys at Golden Key Law know how to dispute unreasonable landlord damage charges. We believe in tenants’ rights and fight hard for our clients. So, in addition to the security deposit you are legally owed, you can also file for damages for court costs and reasonable attorney fees. Schedule a free consultation now!

*Disclaimer: There is a fee associated with real estate related consultations