Bill Text: FL S0274 | 2020 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Residential Tenancies

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-10-15 - Referred to Judiciary; Innovation, Industry, and Technology; Rules [S0274 Detail]

Download: Florida-2020-S0274-Introduced.html
       Florida Senate - 2020                                     SB 274
       
       
        
       By Senator Rodriguez
       
       
       
       
       
       37-00488-20                                            2020274__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to residential tenancies; creating s.
    3         83.684, F.S.; providing legislative intent; defining
    4         terms; prohibiting a landlord from evicting a tenant
    5         or terminating a residential rental agreement because
    6         the tenant is a victim of actual or threatened
    7         domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence,
    8         or stalking; specifying that a rental agreement may
    9         not contain certain provisions; authorizing a victim
   10         of such actual or threatened violence or stalking to
   11         terminate a residential rental agreement without
   12         penalty by providing written notice of intent to
   13         terminate the agreement and to vacate the premises;
   14         providing that such termination of a rental agreement
   15         is effective immediately upon delivery of the written
   16         notice; providing requirements for such notice of
   17         termination; providing for liability for payment of
   18         rent; specifying that a tenant does not forfeit any
   19         deposit money or advance rent paid to the landlord for
   20         terminating a rental agreement under certain
   21         circumstances; providing construction; providing that
   22         a perpetrator’s liability for rent and obligations
   23         under a rental agreement are not terminated under
   24         certain circumstances; requiring a landlord to change
   25         the locks of a dwelling unit within a specified period
   26         under certain circumstances; authorizing a tenant to
   27         change the locks of a dwelling unit under certain
   28         circumstances; prohibiting a landlord from refusing to
   29         enter into or negotiate a rental agreement, from
   30         making a dwelling unit unavailable, or from
   31         retaliating in the rental of a dwelling unit under
   32         certain circumstances; providing an exception;
   33         requiring a landlord to keep certain information
   34         relating to certain tenants confidential; providing
   35         exceptions; authorizing a tenant to file a civil
   36         action against a landlord under certain circumstances;
   37         providing a civil penalty and awards for damages,
   38         court costs, and attorney fees; prohibiting waiver of
   39         the provisions of the act; providing an effective
   40         date.
   41          
   42  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   43  
   44         Section 1. Section 83.684, Florida Statutes, is created to
   45  read:
   46         83.684Early termination of a residential rental agreement
   47  or lock changing authorized for victims of domestic violence,
   48  dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking.—
   49         (1)It is the intent of the Legislature to protect tenants
   50  and their minor children who are victims of actual or threatened
   51  domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, or stalking
   52  and to facilitate relocation for their protection.
   53         (2)As used in this section, the term:
   54         (a)“Dating violence” has the same meaning as in s.
   55  784.046(1)(d).
   56         (b)“Domestic violence” has the same meaning as in s.
   57  741.28.
   58         (c)“Sexual violence” has the same meaning as in s.
   59  784.046(1)(c).
   60         (d)“Stalking” has the same meaning as the term
   61  “cyberstalking” as defined in s. 784.048(1)(d).
   62         (3)A landlord may not terminate a residential rental
   63  agreement or evict a tenant for an incident involving actual or
   64  threatened domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence,
   65  or stalking if the tenant is the victim of such actual or
   66  threatened violence or stalking. A rental agreement may not
   67  include a provision deeming an incident involving actual or
   68  threatened domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence,
   69  or stalking, in which the tenant involved is a victim and not a
   70  perpetrator, to be a breach of the rental agreement. A landlord
   71  may not deem such incidents of actual or threatened violence or
   72  stalking as grounds for terminating the rental agreement or
   73  evicting the victim.
   74         (4)(a)If a tenant or a tenant’s minor child is a victim of
   75  actual or threatened domestic violence, dating violence, sexual
   76  violence, or stalking during the term of a rental agreement, the
   77  tenant may, without penalty, terminate the rental agreement at
   78  any time by providing the landlord with written notice of the
   79  tenant’s intent to terminate the rental agreement and to vacate
   80  the premises because of an incident of actual or threatened
   81  domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, or
   82  stalking. The termination of the rental agreement is effective
   83  immediately upon delivery of written notice to the landlord.
   84         (b)Unless the landlord notifies the tenant that
   85  documentation is not needed, a notice of termination from the
   86  tenant pursuant to paragraph (a) must be accompanied by
   87  documentation verifying the tenant’s or his or her minor child’s
   88  status as a victim of actual or threatened domestic violence,
   89  dating violence, sexual violence, or stalking and may include:
   90         1.A copy of an injunction for protection against domestic
   91  violence, dating violence, sexual violence, or stalking issued
   92  to the tenant as victim or as parent or legal guardian of a
   93  minor victim;
   94         2.A copy of an order of no contact or a criminal
   95  conviction entered by a court in a criminal case in which the
   96  defendant was charged with a crime relating to domestic
   97  violence, dating violence, sexual violence, or stalking against
   98  the tenant or the tenant’s minor child;
   99         3.A written certification from a domestic violence center
  100  certified under chapter 39 or a rape crisis center as defined in
  101  s. 794.055 which states that the tenant or the tenant’s minor
  102  child is a victim of actual or threatened domestic violence,
  103  dating violence, sexual violence, or stalking; or
  104         4.A copy of a law enforcement report documenting an
  105  incident of actual or threatened domestic violence, dating
  106  violence, sexual violence, or stalking against the tenant or the
  107  tenant’s minor child.
  108         (c)A notice of termination from the tenant pursuant to
  109  this subsection shall be mailed or delivered to the landlord, a
  110  person authorized to receive notices and demands in the
  111  landlord’s behalf pursuant to s. 83.50, a resident manager, or
  112  the person or entity that collects the rent on behalf of the
  113  landlord.
  114         (d)If a rental agreement with a specific duration is
  115  terminated by a tenant pursuant to this subsection less than 30
  116  days before the end of the rental agreement, the tenant is
  117  liable for the rent for the remaining period of the rental
  118  agreement. If a rental agreement with a specific duration is
  119  terminated by a tenant pursuant to this subsection more than 30
  120  days before the end of the rental agreement, the tenant is
  121  liable for prorated rent for a period of 30 days immediately
  122  following delivery of the notice of termination. The tenant is
  123  released from any further obligation to pay rent, concessions,
  124  damages, fees, or penalties, and the landlord is not entitled to
  125  the remedies provided in s. 83.595.
  126         (e)If a rental agreement is terminated by a tenant
  127  pursuant to this subsection, the landlord must comply with s.
  128  83.49(3). A tenant who terminates a rental agreement may not, by
  129  reason of such termination, be deemed to have forfeited any
  130  deposit money or advance rent paid to the landlord.
  131         (f)This subsection does not affect a tenant’s liability
  132  for unpaid rent or other amounts owed to the landlord before the
  133  termination of the rental agreement pursuant to this subsection.
  134         (g)If the perpetrator of actual or threatened domestic
  135  violence, dating violence, sexual violence, or stalking is also
  136  a tenant in the victim’s dwelling unit, neither the
  137  perpetrator’s liability for rent nor his or her other
  138  obligations under the rental agreement are terminated by
  139  operation of this subsection, and the landlord is entitled to
  140  the rights and remedies provided by this part against the
  141  perpetrator.
  142         (5)(a)A tenant or a tenant’s minor child who is a victim
  143  of actual or threatened domestic violence, dating violence,
  144  sexual violence, or stalking and who wishes to remain in the
  145  dwelling may make a written request to the landlord accompanied
  146  by any one of the documents listed in paragraph (4)(b), and the
  147  landlord shall, within 24 hours after receipt of the request,
  148  change the locks of the tenant’s dwelling unit and provide the
  149  tenant with a key to the new locks.
  150         (b)If the landlord fails to change the locks within 24
  151  hours, the tenant may change the locks without the landlord’s
  152  permission, notwithstanding any contrary provision in the rental
  153  agreement or other applicable rules or regulations imposed by
  154  the landlord, if all of the following conditions have been met:
  155         1.The locks are changed in like manner as if the landlord
  156  had changed the locks, with locks of similar or better quality
  157  than the original locks.
  158         2.The landlord is notified within 24 hours after the
  159  changing of the locks.
  160         3.The landlord is provided a key to the new locks within a
  161  reasonable time.
  162         (c)If the locks are changed pursuant to this subsection,
  163  the landlord is not liable to any person who does not have
  164  access to the dwelling unit.
  165         (6)A landlord may not refuse to enter into a rental
  166  agreement for a dwelling unit, refuse to negotiate for the
  167  rental of a dwelling unit, make a dwelling unit unavailable, or
  168  retaliate in the rental of a dwelling unit solely because:
  169         (a)The tenant, prospective tenant, or minor child of the
  170  tenant or prospective tenant is a victim of actual or threatened
  171  domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, or
  172  stalking; or
  173         (b)The tenant or prospective tenant has previously
  174  terminated a rental agreement because of an incident involving
  175  actual or threatened domestic violence, dating violence, sexual
  176  violence, or stalking in which the tenant, prospective tenant,
  177  or minor child of the tenant or prospective tenant was a victim.
  178  However, the landlord may refuse to enter into a rental
  179  agreement or negotiate for the rental of a dwelling unit if the
  180  tenant or prospective tenant fails to comply with the landlord’s
  181  request for documentation of an incident of actual or threatened
  182  domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, or stalking
  183  which occurred before termination of a prior rental agreement. A
  184  landlord’s request for documentation shall be satisfied upon the
  185  tenant’s or prospective tenant’s provision of any one of the
  186  documents listed in paragraph (4)(b).
  187         (7)The landlord shall treat as confidential all
  188  information provided to a landlord pursuant to subsections (4),
  189  (5), and (6), including the fact that a tenant or a tenant’s
  190  minor child is a victim of actual or threatened domestic
  191  violence, dating violence, sexual violence, or stalking and
  192  including the tenant’s forwarding address. The landlord may not
  193  enter such information into any shared database or provide the
  194  information to any other person or entity, except to the extent
  195  such disclosure is:
  196         (a)Made to an agent or employee of the landlord solely for
  197  a legitimate business purpose;
  198         (b)Requested, or consented to, in writing by the tenant or
  199  the tenant’s legal guardian;
  200         (c)Required for use in a judicial proceeding; or
  201         (d)Otherwise required by law.
  202         (8)A tenant, on his or her own behalf or on behalf of his
  203  or her minor child, may file a civil action against a landlord
  204  for a violation of this section. A landlord who violates
  205  subsection (6) or subsection (7) is civilly liable to the victim
  206  for $1,000 for punitive damages, actual and consequential
  207  damages, and court costs, including reasonable attorney fees,
  208  unless the landlord can show that the violation was its first
  209  and the violation was not committed in bad faith. Subsequent or
  210  repeated violations that are not contemporaneous with the
  211  initial violation are subject to separate awards of damages.
  212         (9)The provisions of this section may not be waived or
  213  modified by a rental agreement.
  214         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.

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