Breach of Quiet Enjoyment

The Fort Myers Lawyers of the Powell Law Firm, in conjunction with Brett C. Powell in our Miami office, recently won an appeal in the Second District Court of Appeal that concerned whether a tenant could raise Breach of Quiet Enjoyment as an affirmative defense if the Breach did not rise to the level of “Constructive Eviction.” Coral Wood Page, Inc. v. GRE Coral Wood LP

The facts of the case were straightforward. A lawyer for a Cape Coral landlord, brought an action for Eviction and Damages against a Cape Coral tenant. The tenant raised Breach of Quiet Enjoyment as a defense. Because the tenant did not deposit rent into the court registry during the pendancy of the case, the landlord’s lawyer successfully moved for summary judgment on the Eviction count. The landlord’s lawyer then moved for summary judgment on the damages count and sought “accelerated rent” as damages pursuant to the lease.

The trial court entered judgment in favor of the landlord on the damages count, and we appealed on behalf of the tenant. ¬†On appeal, our firm argued that there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding the amount of damages based on the affirmative defense of Breach of Quiet Enjoyment. The landlord’s lawyer argued that the affirmative defense fails as a matter of law because the tenant did not voluntarily vacate the premises or otherwise allege Constructive Eviction.

The Second District reversed the judgment of the trial court and held that Breach of Quiet Enjoyment may be alleged as an affirmative defense even if Constructive Eviction is not alleged.

This opinion is a great benefit to tenants in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and throughout the Second District, because it demonstrates that a lawyer for a tenant may defend the damages component of an eviction lawsuit on the theory of Breach of Quiet Enjoyment even if Constructive Eviction is not alleged.

Our firm has offices in Fort Myers, Miami, and Key West and our lawyers are experienced in representing both landlords and tenants in eviction proceedings.