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I was told to keep my Feb rent and look for a place to move. I am still looking but did pay March rent in full. Can they evict?

Melbourne, FL |

We had plumbing issues in Feb and were without working toilet and showers for 12 days . The property manager told us to keep our Feb rent and look for a new place to move because of the one going issues with the plumbing . We have been vigorously looking for a house to move to but have not found anything that will work for our family . I paid the full March rent and I am still actively looking to move but now I receive a three day or quit for Feb . The plumbing issues are still unresolved and every two weeks the septic tank needs emptied do to a failed drain field that the property managers are not addressing . Can they kick me out when they sent me a certified letter telling me to keep Feb rent and look for a place to move ?

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Attorney answers 3


I recommend that you consult with a local attorney as soon as possible. It appears that your landlord is preparing to file a suit to evict you. If you have a letter from the landlord that instructs you not to pay the February rent, it is clearly an affirmative defense to any claim that you failed to pay the rent. However, other issues exist such as the lack of plumbing for 12 days, a possible offset in the rent, whether the landlord is retaliating, etc., all of which I believe would be best addressed by an attorney.

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If they did tell you that you didn't have to pay for February, and if you do have a certified letter saying as much, than I would say they have waived the right to rent for that month. With the letter, you should not have any issues defending yourself in court. However, you should still contact an attorney in your area. There are some procedural issues in evictions that can trip up tenants, and you could wind up losing a court case because of them. Under our state's law, the loser of an eviction case must pay attorney's fees and costs to the winner. If your case is as good as you say, you might find someone willing to defend you on contingency (no payment upfront).

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The Lease will govern the relationship between the landlord and tenant. Most lease agreements will outline what happens when the landlord needs the tenant to relocate. Generally, landlords are not allowed to require tenants to move to another location without providing the proper notification. If you have been experiencing plumbing issues, requested repairs and those repairs are not made, then you have rights under Florida Law regarding reimbursement to rent and damages. I recommend you talk with an attorney about your situation.

This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Unless you are already a client of the Law Office of Preston H. Oughton, pursuant to an executed fee agreement, you should not use, interpret, or rely on this response as legal advice or opinion. Do not act on any information in this response without seeking legal advice. Preston H. Oughton (904) 854-6336.

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