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depositTenant sued for the return of a two thousand two hundred dollar ($2,200.00) security deposit paid to landlord  pursuant to a HUD subsidized lease ending in December 2009. Tenant did not vacate at the end of her lease, but remained as a holdover tenant until the landlord was forced to evict her in May 2010. When the landlord  retook possession she was owed over eight thousand dollars ($8,000.00) in unpaid rent, not including double rent for the nearly five months  tenant held over. Tenant also left the apartment damaged well beyond normal wear and tear.  The lanldord did not send a claim against the security deposit pursuant to F.S. Sec. 83.49.

The county court ruled that the tenant was a “tenant at sufferance.”  The county court held that the requirement to send a claim under section 83.49, Florida Statutes, does not apply to a “tenant at sufferance.” Thereafter, the county court entered a final judgment in favor of landlord. Tenant appealed.

The appellate court noted that the requirement to send a written claim on the security deposit within 30 days under § 83.49(3)(a), Fla. Stat. (2011) does not apply in some instances. Specifically, section 83.49(4), Florida Statutes, exempts

[t]hose instances in which the amount of rent or deposit, or both, is regulated by law or by rules or regulations of a public body, including public housing authorities and federally administered or regulated housing programs including . . . s. 8 of the National Housing Act, as amended.

The appellate Court agreed with the county court that section 83.49(3)(a), Florida Statutes, is inapplicable to the case at bar, albeit for a different reason1. See § 83.49(3)(a), Fla. Stat. (2011). The Record on appeal established that Appellant rented the subject rental premises through the Section 8 Housing Program and paid the security deposit pursuant to a HUD subsidized lease. Thus, this was an instance “in which the amount of rent or deposit is regulated by law or by rules or regulations of . . . a federally administered or regulated housing program.” See § 83.49(4), Fla. Stat. (2011). Section 83.49(4), Florida Statutes, specifically exempts this matter from the requirements of section 83.49(3)(a), Florida Statutes. See Id. Accordingly,  the appellate court affirmed  the county court’s final judgment.

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  1. The “tipsy coachman” doctrine permits an appellate court to affirm a lower court’s decision if it is correct for any reason. See Dade Cnty. Sch. Bd. v. WQBA, 731 So. 2d 638, 645 (Fla. 1999) [24 Fla. L. Weekly S71a] (concluding that an appellate court is not limited to consideration of the reasons given by the trial court, but rather must affirm the judgment if it is legally correct regardless of those reasons).
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