The tenant may be able to withhold rent if the landlord fails to do what the law or rental agreement requires. A tenant must notify the landlord, in writing, by hand delivery or mail of the noncompliance. The written notice shall also indicate the tenant’s intention to withhold rent due to this noncompliance. The tenant may withhold rent if the landlord fails to come into compliance within seven days after delivery of the written notice.
Upon breach or early termination of the rental agreement by the tenant, the landlord’s potential remedies may include:
- Holding the tenant liable for the difference between the rent stipulated to be paid under the rental agreement and what the landlord is able to recover from re-letting the rental unit
- Retaking possession of the dwelling unit
- Retaking possession of the rental unit and terminating any further liability of the tenant
- Stand by and do nothing, holding the lessee liable for the rent as it comes due
- Terminating the rental agreement
Laws Against Forcing Tenants Out
Florida Law does not allow a landlord to force a tenant out by:
- Changing the locks or using a device that denies the tenant access
- Removing the outside doors, locks, roof, walls or windows (except for purposes of maintenance, repair or replacement)
- Removing the tenant's personal property from the dwelling unless the action is taken after the surrender, abandonment, or recovery of possession of the rental unit due to the death of the last remaining tenant or after lawful eviction
- Shutting off the utilities or interrupting service, even if that service is under the control of the landlord or the landlord makes the payment
If any of these occur, the tenant may sue for actual and consequential damages or three months' rent, whichever is greater, plus court costs and attorneys' fees.