Florida Renters May See “Junk Fee” Instead of Security Deposits
You may have seen DeSantis recently announce his presidency campaign. But before he did that, he signed a very controversial bill into law on Friday, June 2nd. The bill allows landlords to charge Florida renters a nonrefundable, limitless and possibly recurring fee instead of security deposits. This fee has been called “junk fee”.
The idea is that this will allow renters to pay an alternative fee instead of a lump sum. It’s not uncommon that security deposits for Tampa rentals can cost up to 1 or 2 months of rent. But it also does leave some people subject to abuse of this power with “bad landlords.” The wording of this bill also states that landlords have the exclusive discretion whether to offer tenants the option. Meaning, one tenant can be forced to pay a lump sum security deposit, while one will have a recurring fee. However, they can’t approve or deny any application based on how the tenant chooses to pay the fee.
State Rep. Anna Eskamani explained that a “never-ending fee compared to paying $2,000 upfront is, for many people, potentially cheaper.” But the issue is that there is no cap to security deposits or this alternative “fee”.
Another state Rep, Jim Mooney, says that “[the bill is] not designed to protect the tenant at all.” A security deposit is supposed to protect a tenant’s liability for damage, and some places used to refund them as long as there was no damage reported.
Whether you agree with it or not, the bill will go into effect on July 1st, 2023.