Another Example How Failure to Deposit Rent by Tenant Into The Court Registry Gets a Case Dismissed, This Time on Appeal

On appeal the Circuit Court in Pinellas County, the appellate court upheld a default final judgment of eviction by the lower court when tenant failed to dispute the amount of rent alleged in the landlord’s complaint was in error or that the amount alleged had been paid pursuant to Florida Statutes section 83.60(2).  No rent was placed into the court registry, or  defense of payment as the only available defense when rent is not deposited, which authorized the court to enter a default final judgment against the tenant pursuant to statute.  

Toni Seitz vs. Anka Rudman. Circuit Court, 6th Judicial Circuit (Appellate) in and for Pinellas County. Case No. 14-000058AP-88A. UCN 522014AP000058XXXXCI. December 19, 2014. Appeal from Final Judgment Pinellas County Court.
(PER CURIAM.) Toni Seitz, the Tenant, appeals the “Final Judgment — Eviction” entered by the trial court on July 18, 2014, in favor of Anka Rudman, the Landlord. Affirmed.
Timeline:
07/02/2014       Two-count complaint filed by Landlord to recover possession of the apartment and for damages for failure to pay rent. (R. 1-2)
07/02/2014       Tenant served by substituted service on July 2, 2014. (Ex. A)
07/07/2014       Tenant filed Motion to Determine Amount of Rent to Deposit Into Registry of Court and filed Answer. (R. 5, 6-41).
07/14/2014       Landlord filed Motion for Court Default for failure to place rent money into the registry of the court. (R. 42)
07/14/2014       Landlord filed Motion for Default Final Judgment — Residential Eviction. (R. 44)
07/18/2014       Default entered against Tenant for failure to place money in registry of the court. (R. 46)
07/18/2014       Order Denying Defendant’s Motion to Determine Rent “for failure to deposit into the registry of the court any rent as alleged in the complaint and required by section 83.60(2) of the Florida Statutes.” (R. 47)
07/18/2014       Default entered against Tenant for failure to place money in registry of the court. (R. 46)
07/18/2014       Final Judgment — Eviction entered by Court. (R. 45)
In the Complaint for Eviction and Damages, the Landlord asserts that the Tenant has possession of the property at issue under an oral agreement to pay $700.00 monthly. The Complaint alleges the Tenant owes the Landlord $1,400.00 in past due rental payments.
In the Motion to Determine Amount of Rent to Deposit Into Registry of Court, the Tenant states that Landlord “has in her possession $1,135.00 cash of mine, plus theft of my electricity over several months.” The Tenant does not state in the Motion that that the rent as alleged in the complaint is in error. Further, the Tenant does not claim in her Answer that she paid the rental payments alleged to be due for the apartment that is the subject of the eviction action. The Tenant did not deposit any funds into the registry of the court.
Section 83.60(2), Florida Statutes (2014), states in part:
In an action by the landlord for possession of a dwelling unit, if the tenant interposes any defense other than payment, including, but not limited to, the defense of a defective 3-day notice, the tenant shall pay into the registry of the court the accrued rent as alleged in the complaint or as determined by the court and the rent that accrues during the pendency of the proceeding, when due. The clerk shall notify the tenant of such requirement in the summons. Failure of the tenant to pay the rent into the registry of the court or to file a motion to determine the amount of rent to be paid into the registry within 5 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, after the date of service of process constitutes an absolute waiver of the tenant’s defenses other than payment, and the landlord is entitled to an immediate default judgment for removal of the tenant with a writ of possession to issue without further notice or hearing thereon. If a motion to determine rent is filed, documentation in support of the allegation that the rent as alleged in the complaint is in error is required.
The trial court denied the motion to determine rent and the Final Judgment for eviction was entered because the Tenant failed to deposit any funds into the registry of the court. The trial court did not err in entering the Final Judgment based on the requirements of section 83.60(2).
Affirmed. (ALLAN, SCHAEFER, and ST. ARNOLD, JJ.)

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