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Actions for Orlando tenants after an owner changes the locks.

Florida – July 31, 2022

Florida tenants do have rights, and the law does not support landlords or property managers locking a renter out of their living space without a court order to do so.  This type of action could cause problems for an eviction action, and potential legal problems for an owner as well.  A Florida lawyer may offer legal alternatives to impending eviction actions after a landlord illegally changes locks which may lead to an eventual amicable agreement between renters and owners.

Reasons to evict.

Legal eviction may occur when a renter does not pay rent as outlined in their agreement, or if they damage the property, commit illegal actions, or routinely disturb the peace, but evictions must be done according to the Florida laws and the landlord must seek legal recourse to remove a tenant who does not leave on their own.  An owner cannot lock out a tenant, a court action will decide this step. Experienced real estate attorneys  can assist Orlando renters by answering questions and initiating proper steps to stop an illegal eviction activity.

Reporting lockout incident.

 While it is true that Orlando landlords are allowed to replace property locks, they cannot illegally lock tenants out of their residence.  If they do change locks without the notification to a tenant and providing them with keys to access their rented space, the tenant can call the police to report the incident and to assist in gaining reentry. In some cases, a tenant might report the act to other authorities if it is a rent subsidized building.

Florida tenant responsibilities.

A tenant is responsible to a landlord to abide by the terms of their rental agreement which outlines how much rent is due and when it is due, with other unique information such as when it is considered late according to the contract, and what recourse a landlord may take when rent is not paid.  Tenants are responsible to:

  • Keep a rented space safe and habitable,
  • Maintain a clean sanitary environment including garbage removal from the rented space,
  • Use fixtures in a reasonable manner so as not to damage electric or plumbing components,
  • Be conscious of neighbors and not disturbing the peach,
  • Not damage or destroy the rented space.

Landlord actions.

A landlord can legally evict a tenant after they first contact the tenant in writing to give notice as required by Florida law, giving the reason for the eviction, such as non-payment of rent.  If the tenant tries to cure the situation, the landlord does not have to accept this and can proceed with an eviction proceeding if they choose. When a court finds in favor of the landlord, a sheriff will perform the eviction and may lock the tenant out of the residence but only after they have been given time to remove their belongings. When a court disagrees with the landlord or owner, a tenant may remain in the property until a final agreement can be made.

Seek legal counsel.

Florida real estate attorneys can review lease agreements and identify the language that will support a renter’s rights against unethical or illegal practices toward eviction and may guide a tenant on methods to cure regarding the illegal lockout activity.

Legal Counsel, P.A.

189 S. Orange Ave., Ste. 1800
Orlando, Florida  32801

Phone: 407-982-4321

Sources.

  1. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0083/0083.html
  2. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0083/Sections/0083.57.html
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