If you and your landlord are not currently getting along, he or she might be threatening legal action. A landlord might be lawfully acting if they have followed all the relevant rules in order to trigger eviction proceedings, but there are also specific things a landlord cannot do even in the midst of an eviction.
You may have questions about whether or not a landlord can take particular actions during a situation that is escalating between you and the property owner or manager. In the majority of circumstances, it is illegal for a landlord to turn of utilities; however, there are some exceptions. Whether or not tenants will have a cause of action against a landlord for causing utility service to be turned off depends on whether or not the landlord gave the tenants three days’ notice to vacate the property.
If the three-day written notice that a landlord gave to tenants to vacate the property was valid, there is a strong chance that the lease agreement was terminated and therefore, the landlord may have been acting within his or her rights. If it is found that the landlord attempted to interrupt a utility service before the termination of the lease, the landlord could be held responsible for consequential and actual damages or three months’ rent, whichever of these is higher. The landlord may also be responsible for paying costs such as attorney’s fees. A court, however, may only award small damages since the interruption of utility service would affect tenants for a short period of time.
Consulting with a knowledgeable Florida landlord-tenant attorney can help you figure out whether the landlord has crossed a line and what you should do as far as next steps. When a situation is escalating between you and a landlord, it is natural to want to handle the circumstances on your own but this could be a big mistake if you have been unable to come to a term of agreement with the landlord already. It is far better to schedule a consultation with an attorney and to allow the situation to be handled directly by the lawyer.