A recent article in the Sun Sentinal discussed four of the changes made by HB 77 to Florida residential landlord tenant law that went into effect this July. To my surprise, three of the four points about the law in the article were wrong. Here is the correct interpretation of the changes:
1. Security Deposit. There is a new form the landlord must give the tenant upon receipt of a security deposit. Here is a link to the form: http://browardlandlord.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/deposit-notice.pdf. You will be required to use this form starting 1/1/14.
The new law eliminated the requirement for the tenant to object to the landlord’s claim within 15 days if they want to sue to recover their deposit. The revised law provides that if the tenant does not object within 15 days of receipt of the landlord’s claim, the landlord may make the deduction and proceed to refund the balance of the deposit, if any. But now the tenant may still sue the landlord for the deposit even though they did not object to the landlord’s initial claim.
2. Seven day notice. This states that the landlord does not have to issue a second 7 day notice of lease violation. This was not a change in the law, just a clarification of the way it already was.
3. Three day notice change: the previous law was that if you accepted a partial payment, your 3 day notice was voided. Now you can accept a partial payment and proceed to evict upon your original notice as long as you provide a receipt for the partial payment and deposit the rent received into the court registry.
The author failed to note the most important change in the law, which is that a defective 3 day notice no longer means the landlord looses the eviction. F.S. 83.60”defenses to action for rent or possession” has a new provision that “landlord must be given an opportunity to cure a deficiency in a notice or in the pleadings before dismissal of the action.” Also the statute now specifies, that the tenant is required to post the rent in the court registry even if they allege the 3 day notice to be defective.
4. Liquidated damages: the new provides that is the lease requires the tenant to provide up to 60 days notice of intent to renew, the same obligation falls upon the landlord.