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Tenants

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. How can I stop an eviction?

2. How much time do I have?

3. Will this go on my credit?

4. Can I fight an eviction?

5. Can a Landlord change the locks?

6. Can they turn off the water and/ or the power?

7. How can I get my security deposit back?

8. Can I use my security deposit for the last month's rent?

1. How can I stop an eviction?

The Landlord is the only one that can stop an eviction by filing a voluntary dismissal. You can't. All you can do is pay the amount of rent you owe to the clerk of the court and file an answer with the clerk as to why you shouldn't be forced to move. If you have done this, you must wait to hear from the court.

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2. How much time do I have?

An eviction usually takes less than 30 days.

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3. Will this go on my credit?

Yes, an eviction will go on your credit as a judgment.

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4. Can I fight an eviction?

Yes, you have the right to fight the eviction process. You must post the money that you owe into the court registry, file an answer with the court on why you shouldn't be forced to move and send a copy to the Landlord or the Landlord's agent.

If you believe that the Landlord has miscalculated how much money you owe, you may file a motion to determine rent with the clerk.

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5. Can a Landlord change the locks?

No, a Landlord does not have the right to change the locks until after the 24-hour notice has been posted and the Sheriff is there to enforce the 24-hour notice.

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6. Can they turn off the water and/ or the power?

No, the Landlord cannot turn your water or power off and they cannot do anything to make the property uninhabitable.

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7. How can I get my security deposit back?

As stated in the Florida Statute 83.49 (3):

(a)

Upon the vacating of the premises for termination of the lease, if the Landlord does not intend to impose a claim on the security deposit, the Landlord shall have 15 days to return the security deposit together with interest if otherwise required, or the Landlord shall have 30 days to give the Tenant written notice by certified mail to the Tenant's last known mailing address of his or her intention to impose a claim on the deposit and the reason for imposing the claim. The notice shall contain a statement in substantially the following form:

This is a notice of my intention to impose claim for damages in the amount of ____ upon your security deposit, due to ________. It is sent to you as required by s.83.49(3), Florida Statutes. You are hereby notified that you must object in writing to this deduction from your security deposit within 15 days from the time you receive this notice or I will be authorized to deduct my claim from your security deposit. You objection must be sent to (Landlord's address).

If the Landlord fails to give the required notice within the 30-day period, he or she forfeits the right to impose a claim upon the security deposit.

(b)

Unless the tenant objects to the imposition of the Landlord's claim or the amount thereof within 15 days after receipt of the Landlord's notice of intention to impose a claim, the Landlord may then deduct the amount of his or her claim and shall remit the balance of the deposit to the Tenant within 30 days after the date of the notice of intention to impose a claim for damages.

(c)

If either party institutes an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to adjudicate the party's right to the security deposit, the prevailing party is entitled to receive his or her court costs plus a reasonable fee for his or her attorney. The court shall advance the cause on the calendar.

(d)

Compliance with this section by an individual or business entity authorized to conduct business in this state, including Florida-licensed real estate brokers and sales associates, shall constitute compliance with all other relevant Florida Statutes pertaining to security deposits held pursuant to a rental agreement or other Landlord-Tenant relationship. Enforcement personnel shall look solely to this section to determine compliance. This section prevails over any conflicting provisions in chapter 475 and in other sections of the Florida Statutes, and shall operate to permit licensed real estate brokers to disburse security deposits and deposit money without having to comply with the notice and settlement procedures contained in s.475.25(1)(d).



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8. Can I use my security deposit for the last month's rent?

No, unless you have an agreement with the Landlord in writing. A security deposit is normally used to protect the Landlord in the event that there are any damages to the property.

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