Lack of Sufficient Money To Pay The
Rent Is Not A Valid Defense To A Florida Residential Eviction Action
It is uncommon that a tenant enters into a residential lease with
the intent to not pay the rent as it comes due. However, when faced with personal financial difficulties, many
tenants choose to pay their other creditors instead of their landlord. The reason for this selective non-payment of
rent usually has a very practical reason. Specifically, the eviction process is not instantaneous and self-help
evictions are not legal in Florida. Most residential tenants understand that it will take even the quickest
landlord tenant lawyers several weeks, if not longer, to evict the tenant. However, other creditors, such as the
cable company, telephone company, power company, etc., do not operate under such a disadvantage. Such companies can
simply terminate your service almost immediately upon a default in the rent.
Nonetheless, when a landlord does start the eviction process, the
first response by the tenant is to claim insufficient funds to pay the overdue rent. Many residential tenants
mistakenly believe that the judge will prevent the eviction based on this “eviction defense.” However, this belief
is incorrect and the Florida courts will not entertain this position.
LANDLORD RIGHTS TIP: Start the eviction process immediately after
the residential tenant defaults in the payment of rent. As stated above, most tenants have the ability to pay the
rent, even if that means they will be required to forego paying another creditor. Immediately starting the eviction
action will likely result in the tenant paying the rent and avoiding eviction. It will also make it unlikely that
the tenant will default in his or her future rental payments.