I hope this newsletter finds you doing well. This morning, we filed a constitutional challenge to Florida’s pay-to-play eviction law in Hillsborough County Court.
Florida Statute 83.60(2) requires a tenant deposit all back rent (and ongoing rent) into the court registry just to raise an otherwise valid defense. A tenant who cannot afford to deposit the money into the registry loses the case without the right to raise a defense (other than payment) and without the opportunity for a hearing.
In our motion, we are asking the Hillsborough County Court to declare that this law violates the Florida Constitution’s guarantee of access to courts and violates the Due Process Clause of our federal constitution.
No Floridian should have to pay an admission ticket costing thousands of dollars to gain access to the courthouse doors. This is precisely what our pay-to-play eviction system does and we believe this law to be unconstitutional on its face.
The problem is that tenants facing eviction usually do not have the benefit of counsel and therefore rarely have the opportunity to raise challenges like this.
The average rent in Hillsborough County is just under $1,800.00 per month. As our state faces an affordable housing crisis, now is the time to raise this challenge. We are ready for it and happy to lead this effort!
Have a great Sunday!
Until next time,
Ryan C. Torrens, Esq.