Landlord agreed that tenant could have until noon, on the day after his lease ended to complete his move out. When the new tenant arrived that day he found the front door broken, the locks missing, a bed left behind, and the carpets smelling of pet urine. The new tenant was not able to move in for three days while landlord remedied these problems and the landlord had to prorate his rent by $49.54. Landlord then claimed against security for the replacement of the carpet, door, locks, cleaning, and double the monthly rent for holdover.
Tenant filed a counterclaim that the claim for double rent violated section 559.72(9), Florida Statutes, of the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”) by knowingly and willfully attempting to collect monetary damages to which he was not entitled. The court ruled that although the landlord was entitled to recover the door repair, lock replacement, and interior cleaning, but not the double monthly rent or carpet (perhaps because of landlord’s failure to produce a receipt). This left $60.46 of the security deposit refundable to the tenant, who consequently was deemed the prevailing party. The court also awarded the tenant $500.00 under the FCCPA for the wrongful claim for double rent. On appeal, the court affirmed that the tenant was the prevailing party both at trial and on appeal, although the court noted that without a trial transcript it was not in a position to evaluate the trial court’s decision not to award damages for the carpet or at least partial rent loss for September. [Author’s note: §83.58 F.S. “Remedies; tenant holding over” provides for double rent per diem, not two months rent].
WOLK, Appellant, v. GOODMAN, Appellee. Circuit Court, 9th Judicial Circuit (Appellate) in and for Orange County. Case No. 2014-CV-000022-A-O. L.T. Case No. 2013-SC-009018-O. November 5, 2014. Rehearing denied December 9, 2014. Appeal from the County Court, for Orange County. Online Reference: FLWSUPP 2209WOLK