Can my landlord have me locked out if I do not pay in three days?

Full Question:

I failed to pay all of my rent and my landlord served me with a 3 day pay or quit and he says I only have those 3 days to move or the sheriff will lock me out. Can he do that and he is asking me to pay more than I owe him.
10/30/2007   |   Category: Landlord Tenant   |   State: Florida   |   #11266

Answer:

The following are Florida statutes:

83.55 Right of action for damages. —

If either the landlord or the tenant fails to comply with the
requirements of the rental agreement or this part, the aggrieved party
may recover the damages caused by the noncompliance.

83.56 Termination of rental agreement. —

(1) If the landlord materially fails to comply with s. 83.51(1) or
material provisions of the rental agreement within 7 days after delivery of
written notice by the tenant specifying the noncompliance and indicating
the intention of the tenant to terminate the rental agreement by reason
thereof, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement. If the failure to
comply with s. 83.51(1) or material provisions of the rental agreement is
due to causes beyond the control of the landlord and the landlord has made
and continues to make every reasonable effort to correct the failure to
comply, the rental agreement may be terminated or altered by the parties,
as follows:

(a) If the landlord's failure to comply renders the dwelling unit
untenantable and the tenant vacates, the tenant shall not be liable for
rent during the period the dwelling unit remains uninhabitable.

(b) If the landlord's failure to comply does not render the dwelling unit
untenantable and the tenant remains in occupancy, the rent for the period
of noncompliance shall be reduced by an amount in proportion to the loss of
rental value caused by the noncompliance.

(2) If the tenant materially fails to comply with s. 83.52 or material
provisions of the rental agreement, other than a failure to pay rent, or
reasonable rules or regulations, the landlord may:

(a) If such noncompliance is of a nature that the tenant should not be
given an opportunity to cure it or if the noncompliance constitutes a
subsequent or continuing noncompliance within 12 months of a written
warning by the landlord of a similar violation, deliver a written notice to
the tenant specifying the noncompliance and the landlord's intent to
terminate the rental agreement by reason thereof. Examples of noncompliance
which are of a nature that the tenant should not be given an opportunity to
cure include, but are not limited to, destruction, damage, or misuse of the
landlord's or other tenants' property by intentional act or a subsequent or
continued unreasonable disturbance. In such event, the landlord may
terminate the rental agreement, and the tenant shall have 7 days from the
date that the notice is delivered to vacate the premises. The notice shall
be adequate if it is in substantially the following form:

You are advised that your lease is terminated effective immediately. You
shall have 7 days from the delivery of this letter to vacate the premises.
This action is taken because (cite the noncompliance).

(b) If such noncompliance is of a nature that the tenant should be
given an opportunity to cure it, deliver a written notice to the tenant
specifying the noncompliance, including a notice that, if the
noncompliance is not corrected within 7 days from the date the written
notice is delivered, the landlord shall terminate the rental agreement by
reason thereof. Examples of such noncompliance include, but are not
limited to, activities in contravention of the lease or this act such as
having or permitting unauthorized pets, guests, or vehicles; parking in
an unauthorized manner or permitting such parking; or failing to keep the
premises clean and sanitary. The notice shall be adequate if it is in
substantially the following form:

You are hereby notified that (cite the noncompliance). Demand is hereby
made that you remedy the noncompliance within 7 days of receipt of this
notice or your lease shall be deemed terminated and you shall vacate the
premises upon such termination. If this same conduct or conduct of a
similar nature is repeated within 12 months, your tenancy is subject to
termination without your being given an opportunity to cure the
noncompliance.

(3) If the tenant fails to pay rent when due and the default continues
for 3 days, excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays, after delivery
of written demand by the landlord for payment of the rent or possession of
the premises, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement. Legal
holidays for the purpose of this section shall be court-observed holidays
only. The 3-day notice shall contain a statement in substantially the
following form:

You are hereby notified that you are indebted to me in the sum of
__________ dollars for the rent and use of the premises (address of
leased premises, including county), Florida, now occupied by you and
that I demand payment of the rent or possession of the premises within 3
days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) from the date of
delivery of this notice, to wit: on or before the __________ day of
__________, (year).

(landlord's name, address and phone number)

(4) The delivery of the written notices required by subsections (1), (2),
and (3) shall be by mailing or delivery of a true copy thereof or, if the
tenant is absent from the premises, by leaving a copy thereof at the
residence.

(5) If the landlord accepts rent with actual knowledge of a noncompliance
by the tenant or accepts performance by the tenant of any other provision
of the rental agreement that is at variance with its provisions, or if the
tenant pays rent with actual knowledge of a noncompliance by the landlord
or accepts performance by the landlord of any other provision of the rental
agreement that is at variance with its provisions, the landlord or tenant
waives his or her right to terminate the rental agreement or to bring a
civil action for that noncompliance, but not for any subsequent or
continuing noncompliance. Any tenant who wishes to defend against an action
by the landlord for possession of the unit for noncompliance of the rental
agreement or of relevant statutes shall comply with the provisions in s.
83.60(2). The court may not set a date for mediation or trial unless the
provisions of s. 83.60(2) have been met, but shall enter a default judgment
for removal of the tenant with a writ of possession to issue immediately if
the tenant fails to comply with s. 83.60(2). This subsection does not apply
to that portion of rent subsidies received from a local, state, or national
government or an agency of local, state, or national government; however,
waiver will occur if an action has not been instituted within 45 days of
the noncompliance.

(6) If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall comply with
s. 83.49(3).

83.595 Choice of remedies upon breach by tenant. —

(1) If the tenant breaches the lease for the dwelling unit and the
landlord has obtained a writ of possession, or the tenant has surrendered
possession of the dwelling unit to the landlord, or the tenant has
abandoned the dwelling unit, the landlord may:

(a) Treat the lease as terminated and retake possession for his or her
own account, thereby terminating any further liability of the tenant; or

(b) Retake possession of the dwelling unit for the account of the tenant,
holding the tenant liable for the difference between rental stipulated to
be paid under the lease agreement and what, in good faith, the landlord is
able to recover from a reletting; or

(c) Stand by and do nothing, holding the lessee liable for the rent as it
comes due.

(2) If the landlord retakes possession of the dwelling unit for the
account of the tenant, the landlord has a duty to exercise good faith in
attempting to relet the premises, and any rentals received by the landlord
as a result of the reletting shall be deducted from the balance of rent due
from the tenant. For purposes of this section, "good faith in attempting to
relet the premises" means that the landlord shall use at least the same
efforts to relet the premises as were used in the initial rental or at
least the same efforts as the landlord uses in attempting to lease other
similar rental units but does not require the landlord to give a preference
in leasing the premises over other vacant dwelling units that the landlord
owns or has the responsibility to rent.

83.58 Remedies; tenant holding over. —

If the tenant holds over and continues in possession of the dwelling unit
or any part thereof after the expiration of the rental agreement without
the permission of the landlord, the landlord may recover possession of the
dwelling unit in the manner provided for in s. 83.59 [F.S. 1973]. The
landlord may also recover double the amount of rent due on the dwelling
unit, or any part thereof, for the period during which the tenant refuses
to surrender possession.

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