Florida Landlord Tenant law 83.67 Prohibited Practices statute allows for several tenant defenses to an eviction. Also known as 'Self-help' eviction procedures could result in the landlord paying the tenant damages up to three months' rent. A landlord must not engage in 'self-help' eviction practices. Some examples of prohibited 'self-help' eviction practices include turning off utilities to the rental unit or changing the locks.
A landlord of any dwelling unit governed by this part shall not cause, directly or indirectly, the termination or interruption of any utility service furnished the tenant, including, but not limited to, water, heat, light, electricity, gas, elevator, garbage collection, or refrigeration, whether or not the utility service is under the control of, or payment is made by, the landlord. F.S. 83.67(1)
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. F.S. 83.67(2)
A landlord of any dwelling unit governed by this part shall not discriminate against a servicemember in offering a dwelling unit for rent or in any of the terms of the rental agreement. F.S. 83.67(3)
A landlord shall not prohibit a tenant from displaying one portable, removable, cloth or plastic United States flag, not larger than 4 and 1/2 feet by 6 feet, in a respectful manner in or on the dwelling unit regardless of any provision in the rental agreement dealing with flags or decorations. The United States flag shall be displayed in accordance with s. 83.52(6). The landlord is not liable for damages caused by a United States flag displayed by a tenant. Any United States flag may not infringe upon the space rented by any other tenant. F.S. 83.67(4)
A landlord of any dwelling unit governed by this part shall not remove:
except for purposes of maintenance, repair, or replacement; and the landlord shall not remove the tenant’s personal property from the dwelling unit unless such action is taken after surrender, abandonment, recovery of possession of the dwelling unit due to the death of the last remaining tenant in accordance with s. 83.59(3)(d), or a lawful eviction.
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.
landlord who violates any provision of this section shall be liable to the tenant for actual and consequential damages or 3 months’ rent, whichever is greater, and costs, including attorney’s fees. Subsequent or repeated violations that are not contemporaneous with the initial violation shall be subject to separate awards of damages. F.S. 83.67(6)