How do I get out of a lease and get my money back from a rental property when it has been deemed unlivable by a house inspector?

Asked 4 months ago - Palm Bay, FL

We moved from El Paso, TX to Palm Bay, FL and found a rental house online and realtor said it was in good condition. We signed a lease with addendum saying house unseen by renters. When we got there it smelled bad so we called realtor and basically said You SIGNED a LEASE. We hired a house inspector and he found piss stains all over carpets, hole in side of house, windows that do not close/lock. He deemed the house unlivable and even told the realtor she needs to fix everything before ANYONE can live there. She refuses to give our money back (~$2400) and we have been living in homeless for a week. Our hotel bill is now $450.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. James Adrian Cueva


    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to send your landlord a written notice of your intent to withhold rent. The notice needs to describe in detail the repairs the landlord needs to make to render the unit habitable. You should give the landlord a reasonable period of time in which to complete repairs, but certainly not more than 30 days. If the repairs cannot be made within that time, then you should be able to legally break the lease. You will probably need the assistance of a lawyer at some point in time, but I would recommend that you also file suit to recover some or all of the $2400 you are referring to. #LandlordTenant #CuevaLaw

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  2. Barry A. Stein


    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your lease agreement controls the rights and responsibilities. Contact an attorney with a copy of your paperwork to see what your options are in this circumstance.

    The answers given are limited to the facts as given and presumed by the answer itself. Without seeing actual... more
  3. Mark Theodore Tischhauser


    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Well, you have a potential landlord/tenant action under the agreement and Chap. 83 of the Florida Statutes. However, while an inspector hired by you is helpful, he is not the determining factor in the "habitability" of the home. You should call code enforcement to see if they either placard the property, where you cant move in, or force the landlord to fix the defects. If they fix the issues, yo may have a hard time getting out of the lease, as you did very little to protect yourselves renting the property without seeing it in advance.

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