An Orlando case which was heard on July 24, 2013, will hopefully send a strong message to delinquent landlords in community associations who attempt to interfere with their tenants tendering rent to the association pursuant to Florida law.
In the case of L AND V REALTY LLC, Plaintiff, vs. KENNETH BLOUNT, FELIX THEODORE, & MARCOS PERES, a landlord attempted to evict its tenants because they properly tendered their rent payments to the condominium association after the association sent a letter to the tenants indicating that their landlord owed the association $11,042.74.
Pursuant to Section 718.116(11) of the Florida Statutes, the association demanded that future rent payments be paid directly to the association. The tenants complied and began paying rent directly to the association. As a result, the landlord served the tenants with a three-day notice demanding rent for the month of May on or before May 31, 2013 at the Plaintiff's property management company's office. On May 28, 2013, the Defendants paid May's rent directly to the association and Defendants provided the Court with a copy of the receipt at the hearing on Defendant's motion to dismiss. On June 21, 2013, the Plaintiff, through its property management company, filed this eviction action for non-payment of rent.
The Defendants also paid June's rent directly to the association and they provided the Court with a copy of the receipt at the hearing on Defendant's motion to dismiss. The court ruled that the tenants' payment of the rent directly to the association within the time frame provided by the three-day notice gave them“complete immunity from any claim for rent by the landlord pursuant to Section 718.116(11), Florida Statutes.
The landlord's tactics in this case are disappointing but certainly not surprising. We have heard of many tenants in community associations being told by their delinquent landlords to "just ignore" the association's demand for rent notice. Tenants ignore the association's demand at their own peril since the association can evict them for not complying with that demand while the landlord's threat to do so is nothing more than a bluff. Of course, a landlord could still evict a tenant who is violating the terms of the lease agreement for other reasons but not for failure to pay rent when the rent is being properly tendered to the association pursuant to a demand for rent notice.
The ability to demand rent from tenants in properties owned by landlords who are not in turn paying their assessments applies to Florida condominiums, cooperatives and homeowners' associations. This statutory right has enabled countless associations to recoup thousands of dollars owed and helped many of them regain a healthier financial footing. Tenants in your community need to be educated about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to the association's demand for rent as they often do not receive accurate information from their landlords.