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Can I disconnect a tenant who's arrears are in great excess water?

Miami, FL |

I'm a landlord of an apartment complex. My rent charge to the tenants includes water so I pay the water bill for each unit. Two tenants are in high arrears one over a year and another for 6 months. I'm currently waiting on a court date to be set for the tenant with the year of arrears. Would it legal or wise for me to disconnect the water since I am not receiving rent from them but still have to pay the bill at my own expense?

Since it is illegal to disconnect utilities, what would happen if I were to stop paying for the bill? I say this because I am self employed and currently my small income is strained already from my own family expenses and with next to no rent revenue coming in, and the tenant continuing to use more water than my household does per month, I will soon be unable to continue paying for it because providing for my family comes first.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

No, definitely not. I agree with Mr. Hatchey and add that if you did interrupt or turn off any utilities to your tenant, your tenant could sue you for actual and consequential damages, or TRIPLE the monthly rent amount, whichever is greater, plus attorney's fees and costs. Wait for your court case to resolve this unfortunate situation.

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Posted

No, Florida Statute §83.67 makes it illegal for a landlord to shut
off utilities, Offices: Tampa

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Posted

No, you may not disconnect the water per section 83.67 of the Florida Statutes. Otherwise, you will be liable to the tenant for actual and consequential damages or three months’ rent, whichever is greater, and costs, including attorney’s fees. You must go through the court eviction process and not resort to self-help.

This communication is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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Posted

adding to the others....and NEVER wait 6 months to a year to address such things, as you could also find that by accepting rent and not addressing these things you end up waiving or impairing various rights you may have.

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