Florida Senate - 2018                                     SB 850
       By Senator Rodriguez
       37-00756A-18                                           2018850__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to actions for rent or possession;
    3         amending s. 83.60, F.S.; requiring a court to conduct
    4         a trial within a specified timeframe for certain
    5         actions involving possession of a dwelling unit;
    6         authorizing the court to order a tenant to pay certain
    7         rent into the registry of the court during pendency of
    8         a proceeding if the tenant requests a continuance
    9         exceeding a specified number of days or a jury trial;
   10         requiring the court to schedule the case for immediate
   11         trial if such payment is not made; amending s. 83.56,
   12         F.S.; deleting a requirement that a tenant who wishes
   13         to defend against certain actions by a landlord comply
   14         with a specified provision; deleting a requirement
   15         that the court enter a default judgment in certain
   16         circumstances; providing an effective date.
   18  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   20         Section 1. Subsection (2) of section 83.60, Florida
   21  Statutes, is amended to read:
   22         83.60 Defenses to action for rent or possession;
   23  procedure.—
   24         (2) In an action by the landlord for possession of a
   25  dwelling unit, the court shall conduct the trial within 30 days
   26  after service of the complaint. If the tenant requests a
   27  continuance of the trial to a date more than 30 days after
   28  service of the complaint or requests a jury trial, the court may
   29  enter an order requiring the tenant to pay into the registry of
   30  the court the rent that accrues during the pendency of the
   31  proceeding. If the tenant fails to comply with a court order
   32  issued under this subsection, the court shall schedule an
   33  immediate trial on the issue of possession if the tenant
   34  interposes any defense other than payment, including, but not
   35  limited to, the defense of a defective 3-day notice, the tenant
   36  shall pay into the registry of the court the accrued rent as
   37  alleged in the complaint or as determined by the court and the
   38  rent that accrues during the pendency of the proceeding, when
   39  due. The clerk shall notify the tenant of such requirement in
   40  the summons. Failure of the tenant to pay the rent into the
   41  registry of the court or to file a motion to determine the
   42  amount of rent to be paid into the registry within 5 days,
   43  excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, after the date
   44  of service of process constitutes an absolute waiver of the
   45  tenant’s defenses other than payment, and the landlord is
   46  entitled to an immediate default judgment for removal of the
   47  tenant with a writ of possession to issue without further notice
   48  or hearing thereon. If a motion to determine rent is filed,
   49  documentation in support of the allegation that the rent as
   50  alleged in the complaint is in error is required. Public housing
   51  tenants or tenants receiving rent subsidies are required to
   52  deposit only that portion of the full rent for which they are
   53  responsible pursuant to the federal, state, or local program in
   54  which they are participating.
   55         Section 2. Paragraph (b) of subsection (5) of section
   56  83.56, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   57         83.56 Termination of rental agreement.—
   58         (5)
   59         (b) Any tenant who wishes to defend against an action by
   60  the landlord for possession of the unit for noncompliance of the
   61  rental agreement or of relevant statutes must comply with s.
   62  83.60(2). The court may not set a date for mediation or trial
   63  unless the provisions of s. 83.60(2) have been met, but must
   64  enter a default judgment for removal of the tenant with a writ
   65  of possession to issue immediately if the tenant fails to comply
   66  with s. 83.60(2).
   67         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.