The Coral Springs Police Department was nice enough to send a landlord a letter that his tenant was on probation for a drug offense. The landlord then issued the tenant a 7 day notice of lease termination. This is the “incurable” version of the 7 day notice to cure lease violation that is used where the lease violation is so serious that the tenant is not afforded an opportunity to remedy the breach. The tenant vacated the premises in 7 days as demanded and the landlord re-took possession and commenced repairs to the unit. The unit was not re-rented for four months. The landlord then sued the original tenant for the four month’s rent until the unit was re-let.
The court ruled that the landlord had been wrong to terminate the tenancy for the tenant’s probation. A probation is not a conviction, and does not justify the termination of the tenancy. However, by wrongfully “terminating” the lease, the landlord lost its right to any future rents that may come due. See Fla. Stat. §§83.56(2)(a), 83.595(1); Lougas v. Sophia Enterprises, Inc., 38 Fla. L. Weekly D1459a (Fla. 4th DCA July 3, 2013)[where landlord terminated five year lease and tenant remained, five year lease was not resurrected, but month to month tenancy was created]; Geiger Mutual Agency, Inc. v. Wright, 233 So.2d 444, 447 (Fla. 4th DCA 1970)[ landlord may not recover both possession of the premises and the rent for the balance of the as compensation for a vacancy of his own making].
The court also ruled that by re-entering the premises for non-emergency repairs, the landlord “retook” possession of the premises, eliminating any responsibility which may have existed for the tenants to pay rent thereafter. See Fla. Stat. §83.595(1) (terminating a lease agreement and retaking possession result in “terminating any further liability of the tenant”).
OLEN RESIDENTIAL REALTY CORP. , vs. GONZALEZ. County Court, 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County. July 31, 2013. 20 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 1094a