I was evicted for withholding rent for repairs regarding major issues in my apartment. Leaking roof,active termites, rodents, and other issues.
This was a nice apartment in an older building that was seriously neglected by the original owner who passed away and then the family who took over the property. Property was in foreclosure immediately after family to took over.
I mailed a certified letter to the landlord that I would be withholding rent after 18 months of residency and dealing with the same issues from the time I moved in. Landlord filed any fiction stating I owed $4,000.
I submitted my receipts to the court and I was ordered to pay only court fees of $250 however the landlord was still granted possession of the property. Is this legal?
There is no right to withhold rent in Florida absent the property being WHOLLY untenantable per 83.56; meaning you moved out because the property was completely uninhabitable. Living there and withholding rent is not an option per FL law whoever told you that.
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Starting point to all of you questions is obviously YES, Much like asking if you played football real hard and think you should win, asking if its fair the referee didn't throw a penalty flag when the other team scored the winning goal. Answer?: Scoreboard!. Here you lost possession because you likely botched up representing yourself and the court costs alone do not mean you do not owe the rent, that may be addressed in a latter judgement or amendment. If this just happened and you have money to hire an appellate lawyer, you may want to retain one if you expect to even try to stay in possession. Otherwise you got checkmated by the LL and you need to get your things packed and moved to a new place immediately before you get the writ of possession posted on you and the Sheriff tossing you and your things to the street.
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Yep, as many find out, there is generally NO right to "withhold rent for repairs" in Florida. You should have written in BEFORE you made that mistake. And why one would make 'repairs' to a property inthey KNOW to be in FORECLOSURE is another question in and of itself.
Next time, don't take "legal advice" from anyone who is not YOUR LAWYER (including yourself!). That noise, no matter how favororable it might sound at the time - is almost always WRONG - and will get you in big trouble (i.e., as here).
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Fla. Stat. 83.60 provides that the landlord's material noncompliance with the requirements of Fla. Stat. 83.51(1) (landlord's obligation to maintain the dwelling) is a complete defense to an action for possession of the dwelling based on the tenant's nonpayment of rent. Of course, the tenant must provide the landlord with proper notice of their intent to withhold rent, as detailed in Fla. Stat. 83.60, in order to use this defense. If the defense is viable, then the court should also conduct a hearing to determine the amount of rent that is owed, accounting for the reduced value of the unit during the period of the landlord's noncompliance. If the tenant still owes rent after accounting for the reduced value, then a money judgment in favor of the landlord may be entered to reflect that. If nothing is owed after accounting for the reduced value, then the landlord should not get a favorable judgment. There are a number of other requirements when defending an eviction case. For example, you MUST pay into the court registry the amount of rent which is alleged due. You may have run afoul of one of these sort of procedural issues or otherwise failed to make the appropriate argument to the court. Speak with a good lawyer to review your case and determine if you can move for rehearing or appeal the judgment. Time limits apply, so speak with a lawyer ASAP!
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