Landlord wants double rent for holdover tenant


Bob: Listen, I had a tenant on a month to month after lease expired. He gave me a notice that he was vacating the house and pay the month’s rent for some other people that were living in the house; his live-in girlfriend, her daughter, and a child. After the month was over, they refused to leave.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Got you.

Bob: I filed eviction on them and the original renter. He lived in the house for 42 days it took for the eviction process with no water or electric. I cannot have them removed as trespassers as they were invited in by the original renter. I filed a small claims action against the original renter only as the other people didn’t have any assets. I'm asking for double rent under Florida statute and damages. The house was trashed.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Bob, wait for a minute. Are those people out of your house now?

Bob: Yes, 42 days they were evicted and the sheriff pitched them out.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Bob, I do believe that you do have a right to pursue your original tenant, the guy who might have the deep pockets anyway. But Bob, you're trying to get a judgement, a piece of paper that says he owes you money to reimburse yourself. With that said Bob, what’s your question to me?

Bob: The thing is we went to a preliminary small claims and I was asking for double rent damages and the house was trashed. They left clothing, dishes, pots, pans, tools, much of it belonging to original renter. And the judge at the preliminary hearing asked me why I filed against the original renter and set it for trial.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Bob, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to solve your problem on the radio today but I will tell you this. Double rent is something that’s in the statute that says if you have a tenant who stays beyond a rental period, landlord is entitled to double rent. Hey, my experience is judges don’t grant it. They’ll just grant you the regular rent during that period of time.

With that said, Rob Solomon is the attorney at Olsen Law Group who does landlord tenant work all day every day, Bob. I would suggest on Monday, you give Rob a call at my office. Rob, like all the lawyers at Olsen Law Group, he's always happy to give you a few minutes of free legal advice right over the telephone. Bob, you call 407-423-5561.