I've been a model tenant for a year and there have been multiple issues with the house that the landlord has ignored. Most recently I had an electric fire in my kitchen involving my stove. There was damage to the stove, two cabinets, blinds, smoke damage as will as issues with the sink now. Its been almost a month with minimal repairs being done. I'm getting the run around from my landlord and want to know what rights I have and what legal action I can take. There are three children in the residence and we cannot live in these conditions.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
You should contact a landlord/tenant attorney in your immediate area to assist you.
There are ways for you to notify the landlord that you will be withholding rent from him/her and then get court approval to preserve the money and use it to repair the problems. Electrical fires indicate that there are serious problems with the residence and you are correct, nobody is required to live that way.
That being said, the reason I recommend an attorney is because if you just withhold rent you could be on the receiving end of an eviction. Also, once you complain it is illegal for the landlord to retaliate against you, offering you further protection.
If you cannot afford an attorney check out your local legal aid and see if you financially qualify for assistance from them.
Best of luck.
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Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
Attorney Davis is correct. You need to meet with a local landlord tenant lawyer so they can draft the proper notice to the landlord and send it the proper way (certified mail).
Take with you a copy of your written lease agreement and any documentation that would assist the lawyer.
You should be able to demand that the owner repair the defects or you will withhold rent or even consider the agreement terminated. However, it must be done the right way or the owner can begin a lawsuit against you.
Environmental / Natural Resources Lawyer
Read Florida Statutes, Chapter 83 regarding landlord - tenant law. It's easy to understand. See the link below. You will find the law explains what landlords are required to provide and what their duties are. You may need the help of an attorney to communicate with your landlord.
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