I live in Florida. Can my landlord break into the house and take the possession in my absence?

Full Question:

I am a 26-year-old girl living in Florida. I lost my job recently and have not been able to find a new one. As a consequence, I was not able to pay the rent for the past 3 months. My landlord wants to evict me, but in the present situation, I cannot move to another place. I am worried that in my absence the landlord might breach into my house and take the possession. Is it possible for the landlord to forcefully take the possession?
01/16/2017   |   Category: Landlord Tenant   |   State: Florida   |   #30275

Answer:

In Florida under Florida Statute § 83.05 a landlord is allowed to obtain possession of the premises through an action for possession under § 83.20 or other civil action, or if the tenant has surrendered possession, or has abandoned the property. And per § 83.20 it is required that the landlord should provide notice in writing and give time for moving out.
 
§ 83.05 deals with right of possession upon default in rent; determination of right of possession in action or surrender or abandonment of premises.
 
“(1) If any person leasing or renting any land or premises other than a dwelling unit fails to pay the rent at the time it becomes due, the lessor has the right to obtain possession of the premises as provided by law.
(2) The landlord shall recover possession of rented premises only:
     (a) In an action for possession under s. 83.20, or other civil action in which the issue of right of possession is determined;
     (b) When the tenant has surrendered possession of the rented premises to the landlord; or
     (c) When the tenant has abandoned the rented premises.
(3) In the absence of actual knowledge of abandonment, it shall be presumed for purposes of paragraph (2)(c) that the tenant has abandoned the rented premises if:
     (a) The landlord reasonably believes that the tenant has been absent from the rented premises for a period of 30 consecutive days;
     (b) The rent is not current; and
     (c) A notice pursuant to s. 83.20(2) has been served and 10 days have elapsed since service of such notice.
However, this presumption does not apply if the rent is current or the tenant has notified the landlord in writing of an intended absence.”
 
§ 83.20 deals with causes for removal of tenants.

“Any tenant or lessee at will or sufferance, or for part of the year, or for one or more years, of any houses, lands or tenements, and the assigns, under tenants or legal representatives of such tenant or lessee, may be removed from the premises in the manner hereinafter provided in the following cases:
     (1) Where such person holds over and continues in the possession of the demised premises, or any part thereof, after the expiration of the person's time, without the permission of the person's landlord.
     (2) Where such person holds over without permission as aforesaid, after any default in the payment of rent pursuant to the agreement under which the premises are held, and 3 days' notice in writing requiring the payment of the rent or the possession of the premises has been served by the person entitled to the rent on the person owing the same. The service of the notice shall be by delivery of a true copy thereof, or, if the tenant is absent from the rented premises, by leaving a copy thereof at such place.
     (3) Where such person holds over without permission after failing to cure a material breach of the lease or oral agreement, other than nonpayment of rent, and when 15 days' written notice requiring the cure of such breach or the possession of the premises has been served on the tenant. This subsection applies only when the lease is silent on the matter or when the tenancy is an oral one at will. The notice may give a longer time period for cure of the breach or surrender of the premises. In the absence of a lease provision prescribing the method for serving notices, service must be by mail, hand delivery, or, if the tenant is absent from the rental premises or the address designated by the lease, by posting.”

Therefore, the landlord cannot forcefully take the possession of the premise. The law requires the landlord to provide proper notice of eviction in writing.