I have a town home in Tampa, FL where the tenant owed me $1,890 in back rent. I taped a 3 day notice to the door, and the next day or so she deposited $380 into my bank account. This is the method she has used in the past to pay full rent. However, I was told because she deposited this partial payment I had to do a new 3 day notice before I could proceed to eviction. I am concerned that each time I do a notice, she can do a small partial and make me start over. I was given the advice to stop deposits on the account, but not sure if my bank can do that.
Is there another way (other than stopping deposits) to handle this to avoid the situation again? Thank you!
Yes, And this might be an example (for others) why one should NOT try to lease property in this state without a landlord's attorney guidance. While YEARS ago, one could just put a sign up, and collect rent without a hitch, these days a landlord has to play it smart from the very beginning (just watch "Pacific Heights" with Matt Modine, Melanie Griffith - and Michael Keaton as the psychotic tenant if you don't believe me); and the critical starting point is in drafting a solid (and enforceable) LEASE. These days, tenats are getting very CRAFTY. But, JUST to avoid the modest fees a lawyer would charge, many wanna-be landlords use a "form lease," or potentially worse, try to craft their own (or add extra provisions or modifications to the form) without the help or guidance of a lawyer. then, a particular problem arises, and where do we look for answers? The Lease. That said, as expected, the answer here - turns on the terms of your Lease. The trigger for the need for a "new" 3 day notice under Section 83.56 - is the Landlord's ACCEPTANCE of partial rent. The problem here - is the ability to make a partial direct deposit. While arguably, you could return the partial payment the tenant deposited in your account immediately, that would take as much time as complying with the statute - and the latter method would avoid any possible defense based on statutory noncompliance. But this depends entirely on the terms of your Lease, which COULD provide that the direct deposit method of paying rent is the ONLY acceptable method of paying rent (thus you could not close off that possibility to the tenant); or it could provide that the DD method is suspended whenever a three day notice is delivered; and that upon default, and with the proper delivery of the 3 day notice, the payment on the 3-day notice must be delivered to XYZ, and then copy that same address on the notice itself (again as per 83.56). There are also several applications )some bigger companies use) that provide an "on line portal" to make payments (instead of DD) and with this application a LL can restrict partial payments. My guess is, however, you may have locked yourself into to this particular payment method, and may have to play the tenants games until it's time for a new lease. But you will have to check your Lease to be sure, and seek counsel if you are not. And please see a good landlords attorney when it comes time to establish a new Lease. Hope this helps. gsg
Responses provided herein are merely commentary on the question posed. They are NOT intended as legal advice, nor to be relied upon by anyone, for any reason, nor to create an attorney-client relationship between you and I; and all askers should consult an attorney for advice regarding each individual matter, since each case is a bit different, and not all information is typically recited in the online question as posted. PLEASE do not contact me directly; I am NOT accepting new clients at this time, and only volunteer here on AVVO to "give back" after a long and rewarding career. Good luck!
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