Florida law has suddenly become crystal clear that a tenant cannot get
out of depositing rent into the Court Registry merely by arguing that
the landlord's default notice is someone defective. Commercial and
residential tenants alike have attempted to delay their inevitable eviction
by claiming that the default notice (which is usually required prior to
instituting an eviction case) was defective in form or manner of service.
Unfortunately, several county and circuit judges in the state have adopted
this argument and reasoned that the court either lacked jurisdiction to
proceed in the absence of a valid default notice or that the condition
precedent of a valid default notice needed resolution before the action
could be considered valid, thus excusing the deposit of rent into the
court registry. Several trial judges have refused to follow this misguided
reasoning and, following Bell v. Kornblatt, 705 So.2d 113, 114 (Fla. 4th
DCA 1998), have held the notice requirement is unnecessary to establish
subject matter jurisdiction and have required the payment of rent into
the court registry if the "defective notice" argument was to
be maintained by the tenant. Of course, most tenants are unable to deposit
the rent into the court registry (since that is the very reason they find
themselves in an eviction action) and the failure to do so results in
an immediate judgment of possession against them.
The final answer was handed down on December 1, 2010 wherein the Fourth
District Court of Appeal in the case of
Myron Alphesus Stanley, Inc. v. Quest International Investment, Inc., 2010 WL 4861722 (Fla. 4
th DCA Dec. 1, 2010), held that, even if the tenant asserts a defense that
the default notice is defective, it must deposit all money alleged to
be due and owing into the court registry or else all of its defenses will
be deemed waive and the landlord shall be entitled to a default judgment
This case should finally put to rest the erroneous arguments made in virtually all
landlord tenant disputes and streamline the process.
Alex P. Rosenthal, Esq.
Rosenthal Law Group
2115 North Commerce Parkway
Weston, FL 33326