Under Florida Statute 83.491, landlords may offer tenants the option to pay a nonrefundable fee instead of a security deposit. The tenant may pay the fee in monthly installments in addition to rent, or according to a payment schedule outlined in the lease.
The nonrefundable fee is available to help tenants secure the rental home when they cannot or do not wish to pay the required security deposit. It does not limit or change your obligation to pay rent, fees, or the cost of repairing damage to the unit beyond normal wear and tear.
The fee agreement must be in writing. The tenant may cancel the fee agreement at any time, and instead pay the security deposit in full. The security deposit would be the amount specified in the lease or what is normal for a similar rental home at the time the agreement is canceled.
A landlord is not required to offer the option of a nonrefundable fee instead of the full, upfront, security deposit. However, if it is offered, landlords may not deny a rental application based on someone’s decision to pay the fee. Additionally, landlords must offer the fee option to either all new applicants or no one at all.