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Error for court to default tenant for not depositing the rent into the court registry  where complaint for unpaid water bill  did not allege any rent was due.

toiletcashOn the same day that tenant paid her May 2014 rent,  the landlord filed an eviction against her for not paying her water bill.    The tenant filed defenses that a plumbing defect had caused abnormally high water bills,  but the court defaulted the tenant for not posting the rent into the court registry.   The tenant appealed,  and the appellate court ruled that the requirement to post the rent claimed into the court registry under  §83.60(2) “Defenses to action for rent or possession”  is not applicable  where the landlord has not alleged that any rent was  due in the complaint.   The court noted, however,   that the tenant would be required  to post any rent accruing  during the pendency of the action  into the court registry,  and also that  a utility bill was not “rent.”

GILLESPIE , vs.  FIGUIREDO,  Circuit Court, 13th Judicial Circuit (Appellate) in and for Hillsborough County. November 4, 2014, 22 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 690a.