Florida Statutes 83.59(c) provides that when the tenant has been absent from the premises without explanation for half of a rent payment period, and the rent is delinquent, the landlord may presume abandonment. The disposition of the tenant’s personal property is governed by Chapter 715 of Florida Statutes which provides six single spaced pages of rules (see below). Alternatively 83.67(5) provides
If provided in the rental agreement or a written agreement separate from the rental agreement, upon surrender or abandonment by the tenant, the landlord is not required to comply with s. 715.104 and is not liable or responsible for storage or disposition of the tenant’s personal property; if provided in the rental agreement, there must be printed or clearly stamped on such rental agreement a legend in substantially the following form:
BY SIGNING THIS RENTAL AGREEMENT, THE TENANT AGREES THAT UPON SURRENDER, ABANDONMENT, OR RECOVERY OF POSSESSION OF THE DWELLING UNIT DUE TO THE DEATH OF THE LAST REMAINING TENANT, AS PROVIDED BY CHAPTER 83, FLORIDA STATUTES, THE LANDLORD SHALL NOT BE LIABLE OR RESPONSIBLE FOR STORAGE OR DISPOSITION OF THE TENANT’S PERSONAL PROPERTY.
In the case of SHORTER HOME SOLUTIONS, LLC,, vs. KINGDOM, ( Broward County Court 2010), 17 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 220a, the tenant was on a one year lease terminating 8/31/09 and receiving housing assistance from the City of Fort Lauderdale. The tenant stopped paying his portion of the rent in June, and in July he traveled to Mississippi without notifying the landlord. The City of Fort Lauderdale terminated the rent assistance and did not pay August rent. On August 20th, the landlord declared the property abandoned at removed the tenant’s belongings to the curb, which is where the tenant found them upon his return. Thereupon they filed suit against each other. The court consolidated the cases and ruled that the landlord was not required to file an eviction as the tenant had legally abandoned the premises by failing to notify the landlord he would return, the rent being delinquent, and the tenant being absent past the 15th of the month. The court ruled that the landlord was thus entitled to remove the tenant’s belongings and denied the tenant any relief for the loss of his property. In fact, the judge entered a money judgment against the tenant for the rent delinquency, costs, and fees. As the tenant had posted the rent into the court registry in order to contest the case, those funds were disbursed to the landlord.
Following is Chapter 715 “Disposition of Personal Property Landlord and Tenant Act”