Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Florida

A tenant, with whom I have a signed contract, placed a stop payment on a check and moved out after the second month. I'm preparing to sue her in small claims court. Regarding the stop payment I am finding contradictory information regarding being able to claim for treble damages,.

Fla. Stat. �68.065 states: (1) In any civil action brought for the purpose of collecting a check, draft, or order of payment, the payment of which was refused by the drawee because of the lack of funds, credit, or an account, or where the maker or drawer stops payment on the check, draft, or order of payment with intent to defraud, and where the maker or drawer fails to pay the amount owing, in cash, to the payee within 30 days following a written demand therefor, as provided in subsection (3), the maker or drawer shall be liable to the payee, in addition to the amount owing upon such check, draft, or order, for damages of triple the amount so owing. However, in no case shall the liability for damages be less than $50. The maker or drawer shall also be liable for any court costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the payee in taking the action. Criminal sanctions, as provided in s. 832.07, may be applicable.

Some websites say that a stop check is different from an NSF and does not qualify for treble damages. Which is correct? I am aware that proper notification must be given so that is not an issue

Asked on 2/06/13, 3:17 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

David Slater David P. Slater, Esq.

Can you prove intent to defraud?

Read more
Answered on 2/06/13, 3:26 pm
Barry Stein De Cardenas, Freixas, Stein & Zachary

Mr. Slater points out the cogent point of the statute. Proving intent to defraud can be quite difficult.Circumstantial evidence can be used, but the conclusion must be the same. NSF checks are treated differently than stop payment as there must be an intent to defraud. Also, to avail yourself of this provision you must provide the written ntoice before pursuing any legal action.

Read more
Answered on 2/07/13, 2:42 am
Lucreita Becude Lucreita D. Becude, P.A.

I suggest you sue based on your lease agreement. She broke the lease and left. She owes you rent until you can rent the unit again. However, you have not stated why she stopped payment and what the arrangements were - I would be remiss in my duties to advise you on treble damages when at this point I don't believe that statute applies to your case.

Read more
Answered on 2/07/13, 7:28 am

Related Questions & Answers

More Landlord & Tenants questions and answers in Florida