My lease is up April 31 , 2019. I started moving my stuff out a few days ago and told my landlord I would let him know if I was out and will have the house left in the condition it was when I moved in. He actually came and did an inspection last week and said we would do another when I’m done cleaning. We had a text yesterday and he told me just to let him know when I turned off the power. I told him I had it turned off yesterday since the beds had been moved and we are staying with a friend. He said to make sure to leave the refrigerator door open and I did. He text me today and said he has changed the locks, contacted the sheriff and police and if I step foot on the property he will have me arrested. He said his reason was when I turned off the power I abandoned the home and it’s now his. He said according to Fl statute 82. I don’t see anything in that statute and talked to a friend who has rental properties and she said he cannot do that and it’s absolutely illegal. He said I can come get my things and he will meet me there and stay until until we are done. Is it illegal for him to lock me out of my house without warning during my lease term for turning off the power?
Yikes! Sounds like (at least on these facts) the Landlord made a serious mistake. Of course, there does seem to be something "missing" from your story - the blank spot between the cozy goodbye and getting locked out and subject-to-arrest mood swing. In any event, it's a fact-based question no one can answer unequivocally here on line; however, assuming your rent's paid through the end of the month, and you didn't formally "surrender" the premises to the Landlord, it's not all likely he can. This has NOTHING to do with "Statute 82" (presumably, he meant "Chapter" 82 - which deals with 'unlawful detainer"). This is instead governed by two separate sections of Florida's Landlord Tenant Act, Section 83.59(3) Florida Statutes and Section 83.67 Florida Statutes (both set out separately in the comments below). Section 83.59(3) governs when a landlord can retake possession of leased premises (i.e., without eviction), and subsection (3)(c) defines 'abandonment' - and it does not speak to the electricity being kept on. Section 83.67(2) prohibits the landlord from changing the locks, and 83.67(6) authorizes the Court to award the tenant at LEAST 3 times the rent in damages, along with legal fees, and costs as a consequence of doing so. Of course, as I said at the outset, these are "fact" driven cases; so consult with a good local tenants lawyer before proceeding. 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 prosperous career. Good luck!
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