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I'm looking for a path forward given the following residential lease terms in Florida:

  1. Tenant signed 2 year lease and paid rent on time for 8 months.
  2. Tenant gave 60 day notice that they would be moving out to be closer with family, claiming that a member of their family had attempted suicide (but fortunately failed in that attempt).
  3. Landlord/Tenant later agreed to terms in a lease addendum stating that Landlord would keep security deposit and last month's rent, as well as an additional payment equal to 1 month's rent.
  4. Both parties signed addendum - agreed that all terms contained within addendum (#3 above) must be met to be released from original lease agreement.
  5. Tenant sent screen shot of final payment from their bank, but payment was never received.
  6. Tenant has moved out.

QUESTIONS

  1. Is an eviction necessary?
  2. Is sending the screenshot FRAUD given that the payment was never received?
  3. What are the next steps available to a Landlord?

1 Answer 1

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Eviction is the legal process of removing a tenant from a premise, which can be necessary because the landlord cannot legally throw the tenant out. (The sheriff does it, under orders from a court.) When the tenant has quit the premise, the landlord's remaining concern is (potentially) a lawsuit for breach of contract – if the landlord wants money, they will need to get a court order.

The landlord can sue for the entire amount, the remainder of 2 years' rent minus whatever has been paid, but obviously the tenant has available the option of paying less than that to be in compliance with their lease obligation. Still, unless the tenant simply had a technical glitch and did intend to pay the remaining month's rent, it may be necessary to take the matter to court. The tenant might be motivated by the fact that §83.48 of the landlord-tenant law awards costs to the winner in the legal proceeding. §83.56 states the formal process of terminating the agreement, in particular para 3 regarding non-payment and the notice that has to be given. This also reminds you of the obligation under §83.49(3) regarding the return of the deposit.

Finally, §83.595 is specifically about how the landlord gets the rent owed. Theoretically, the added extra month rent could be subsumed under the concept of "liquidated damages", but there has to be certain wording in the agreement, so the landlord will have to go to court if he wants the full three months.

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  • Thank you so much for your detailed answer. The link was especially helpful. Given #6 in my question, as well as the fact that Tenant signed lease addendum included a move out date which they complied with, does that mean the tenant has effectively "quit" the property (i.e., relinquished possession)? In other words, an eviction is unnecessary, only a suit for the rent owed? Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 22:27
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    Yes, see §83.05(2)(b): the tenant has surrendered possession.
    – user6726
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 23:06
  • Great, thanks so much for your answer! Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 20:19

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