Tenants have a right to peaceably and quietly enjoy rented property without
the unwelcomed interference or intrusion of their landlords. As such,
any act by a landlord made with the express or implied intent of essentially
interfering with a tenant’s use and enjoyment of the premises, even
if it does not amount to an actual eviction of a tenant, is prohibited
under Florida law. This is known as a “constructive eviction.”
For example, say John, a small retail business owner, were to rent a suite
in a building, with the remainder of the property being leased to a gym.
Unfortunately, the noise pollution from the gym’s loud sound system
interferes with John’s business and deters customers from entering.
Although John informs the landlord of the issue, the landlord fails to
take action and continues to allow the gym to play music at a high volume.
If John can prove that the gym’s sound system materially interfered
with the use of the property such that the premises was unsuitable for
occupancy, resulting in damages to his business, the landlord can then
be held liable for constructive eviction and financially responsible for
any damages since the beginning of the constructive eviction. Likewise,
John may seek an abatement of any rent paid since the beginning of the
Can Constructively Evicted Tenants Simply Stop Paying Rent?
No. If an alleged constructively convicted tenant fails to pay their owed
rent, the landlord may commence an action or counterclaim to evict the
tenant for nonpayment. On the other hand, if a tenant continues to pay
the rent as due and prevails in a constructive eviction claim against
their landlord, they would then have to file a separate claim to recover
the rental payments. This is where court deposits come into play.
In the recent appellate opinion of Tixe Designs, Inc. v. Green Ice, Inc.
-- So.3d ---- , 2016 WL 6992296 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016), it was found that constructively evicted
tenants may voluntarily pay rent money into the court registry by order
of the court Under Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.600 rather than paying the landlord
themselves to avoid default for nonpayment yet still retain the right
to recover the rent if successful in their constructive eviction claim.
In other words, for any action in which part of the relief sought is a
judgment for a sum of money, parties may deposit all or part of such a
sum with the court upon notice to every other party and by leave of court.
When Can a Landlord Evict a Tenant Using a Self-Help Clause?
Many landlords include “self-help” clauses within their lease
agreements which are intended to give them the right to terminate a lease
and reclaim a property in the event that the tenant should default on
payments. In the decision of Palm Beach Fla. Hotel & Office vs Nantucket
Enterprises, Inc. ,
-- So.3d ---- , 2016 WL 7118850 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016), it was found that self-help clauses may
not be used by landlords to reclaim property in the event that a tenant
should default as a result of constructive eviction. Florida Statutes
Section 83.05(2) provides that a non-residential landlord may recover
possession of rented premises only:
- By court order granting a landlord possession;
- When the tenant has surrendered possession of the rented premises to the
- When the tenant has abandoned the rented premises.
Involved in a Landlord-Tenant Dispute? Call (561) 953-6662
Without capable and experienced legal counsel, the laws regarding the landlord
and tenant relationship can be difficult to understand. If you should
find yourself involved on either side of a landlord-tenant issue such as a
lease dispute or
lease enforcement matter, contact Gregg H. Glicsktein P.A. today. Having been providing
cost-effective and powerful legal advocacy for clients throughout Boca
Raton for more than 35 years, my firm has what it takes to guard your
best interests and maximize your chances of achieving a favorable result
for your case.
To discuss your legal options with a Boca Raton landlord-tenant law attorney
in detail, schedule your confidential case review