The Florida Statutes Title VI Chapter 83 Part II Section 83.60 allows a tenant to defend against a landlord’s action for possession of a residential rental property in the following manner:
Defenses to Action for Rent or Possession
(1) (a) In an action by the landlord for possession of a dwelling unit based upon nonpayment of rent or in an action by the landlord under s. 83.55 seeking to recover unpaid rent, the tenant may defend upon the ground of a material noncompliance with s. 83.51(1), or may raise any other defense, whether legal or equitable, that he or she may have, including the defense of retaliatory conduct in accordance with s. 83.64. The landlord must be given an opportunity to cure a deficiency in a notice or in the pleadings before dismissal of the action.
(b) The defense of a material noncompliance with s. 83.51(1) may be raised by the tenant if 7 days have elapsed after the delivery of written notice by the tenant to the landlord, specifying the noncompliance and indicating the intention of the tenant not to pay rent by reason thereof. Such notice by the tenant may be given to the landlord, the landlord’s representative as designated pursuant to s. 83.50, a resident manager, or the person or entity who collects the rent on behalf of the landlord. A material noncompliance with s. 83.51(1) by the landlord is a complete defense to an action for possession based upon nonpayment of rent, and, upon hearing, the court or the jury, as the case may be, shall determine the amount, if any, by which the rent is to be reduced to reflect the diminution in value of the dwelling unit during the period of noncompliance with s. 83.51(1). After consideration of all other relevant issues, the court shall enter appropriate judgment.
(2) In an action by the landlord for possession of a dwelling unit, if the tenant interposes any defense other than payment, including, but not limited to, the defense of a defective 3-day notice, the tenant shall pay into the registry of the court the accrued rent as alleged in the complaint or as determined by the court and the rent that accrues during the pendency of the proceeding, when due. The clerk shall notify the tenant of such requirement in the summons. Failure of the tenant to pay the rent into the registry of the court or to file a motion to determine the amount of rent to be paid into the registry within 5 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, after the date of service of process constitutes an absolute waiver of the tenant’s defenses other than payment, and the landlord is entitled to an immediate default judgment for removal of the tenant with a writ of possession to issue without further notice or hearing thereon. If a motion to determine rent is filed, documentation in support of the allegation that the rent as alleged in the complaint is in error is required. Public housing tenants or tenants receiving rent subsidies are required to deposit only that portion of the full rent for which they are responsible pursuant to the federal, state, or local program in which they are participating.
FLA. STAT. § 83.60
See also Florida Landlord Lease Termination and Right to Evict.
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