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3 day Notice using a PO Box for the landlord’s address requires an additional 5 days for mailing.

In Wayne Dickerson v. Joe Ryan England, County Court in and for Seminole County Florida, Case 05-cc-4678  11/17/05, 13 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 205, the landlord posted a 3 day notice on October 21, 2005, with a deadline of October 27, 2005.  The 3 day notice listed the landlord address as a Post Office Box.  The tenant did not tender the rent by the 27th, and the landlord filed the eviction suit on October 28.

The tenant defended citing a long line of county and circuit court decisions holding that Rule 1.090 (e) of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure requires that where a notice demands a response by mail (such as where the address is a PO Box and not a physical address ) you must provide an additional five days to respond.  This effectively turns a 3 day notice into an eight day notice, where the landlord uses a POB address on the 3 day notice.

The court in this case ruled that Rule 1.090 (e) requires the addition of five days to a notice only when the notice is mailed to the recipient, and not if the notice is posted.  The court stated “logic, common sense, and the principals of statutory interpretation compels this court to hold that Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.090(e), as applied here, does not require a landlord, under  a Chapter 53.86(3) notice, to either inform its tenant or add 5 days to its 3 day notice whenever the tenants’ response is to a post office box address.  To hold otherwise would expand the Rule 1.090(e) prescribed period from 3 to 8 days and, under the line of cases upon which Defendant relies, require the landlord to add and notify the tenant of 5 more days under Rule 1.090(e) to the 8 days noticed, thus extending the prescribed period to 13 days … ad infinitum, with the result rendering any chapter 83.56(3) notice providing a post office box response defective.”

The court ruled that although the tenant must respond by mail where the landlord uses a PO Box address,  the tenant must do so within the 3 days.  The postage cancellation would be proof of when the tenant responded.  But the court then applied Rule 1.090(e) to when the landlord could file the eviction.  The court ruled that the landlord had to wait 5 days from the deadline on the 3 day notice to see if the tenant had responded by mail, and that the tenant was not deemed terminated until the 5 days had passed.  The court dismissed the landlord’s case, not because of a defective 3 day notice,  but because he filed the day after the due date and did not wait the extra 5 days.

Therefore the rule is that if a landlord puts a PO Box address as his address on the 3 day notice,  the landlord should post the notice.  The due date on the notice is still 3 working days.  But now the landlord must wait 5 days to see if the tenant answers, and not file until the 6th day after the due date on the 3 day notice.

If you are that determined not to provide a physical address to the tenant,  why not provide your lawyer’s address ?