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Are you a landlord attempting to evict a tenant that owes rent?

Here are two practices a landlord should never do during an eviction.

1. Changing the locks. The first action that a landlord may consider is to wait until the tenants go out, and while they are out have a locksmith change the locks. This is a bad idea, it is also illegal in the State of Florida. When a landlord takes an eviction into his or her own hands, it is called a self-help eviction. Florida law prohibits self-help evictions. Self-help evictions can result in the landlord facing legal action from the tenant.

Legal Authority – Florida Statute §83.67(2) – “A landlord of any dwelling unit governed by this part shall not prevent the tenant from gaining reasonable access to the dwelling unit by any means, including, but not limited to, changing the locks or using any bootlock or similar device.”

2. Taking the tenants personal property- A landlord may also consider entering the tenants home to take the tenants belongings as “payment”. Florida law strictly prohibits taking and holding a tenant’s personal property. This is not the proper way to deal with an eviction situation. Taking the tenant’s property could subject the landlord to both a civil lawsuit from the tenant and possibly criminal prosecution.

Legal Authority – Florida Statute §8.67- “A landlord of any dwelling unit governed by this part shall not remove the outside doors, locks, roof, walls, or windows of the unit except for purposes of maintenance, repair, or replacement; and the landlord shall not remove the tenant’s personal property from the dwelling unit…”

What should you do? -If you have tenants that have owe rent, and you wish to have them evicted, or if you are tenant hat is facing an eviction you should contact a licensed attorney who can provide you with competent legal advice.

Schedule an initial consultation with a member of our firm today by calling (239) 970-6844.

Categories: Evictions

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