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Please help me get out of my Florida lease!

Naples, FL |

I want to get out of my Florida lease because my landlord is terrible. I have just today mailed my landlord a letter basically stating I am upset because:

(1) He took three months to initiate repairs on a leaky roof (contruction started this morning)
(2) He shows up all the time without proper notice (though always stays outside, checking the pool, roof, etc.) - the latest incident I was on the lanai in my skimpy nightgown and he came walking across the roof with a contractor. There was a message on my cell phone saying he'd be there in 20 minutes... that I didn't get before he arrived.
(3) He has not provided a microwave, which our lease states he will provide.
(4) He has not repaired the mailbox - resulting in lost mail, and sopping wet mail on rainy days.
(5) He has not shown me how to change the lightbulbs in the complicated light fixture in the kitchen, as I've asked him to... haven't had proper light in the kitched for weeks
(6) He made a false statement regarding his relationship to me to someone (whom he identified to me as a property appraiser) on the phone while in my presence (he told them I was his niece staying at the house for a couple months).
(7) On the lease there are specified areas for an agent to sign - and he signed the owner section - rather than the agent section although his son is the owner of the property and he is the agent
(8) I was informed by Collier County code enforcement that he was supposed to have renewed his agent registration in June of 2008 but according to their records as of 20 October 2008 he had failed to do so.

My year long lease is up in Feb. I want out now. What are my chances of getting this lease terminated if I take it to civil court? Is there anything I can do to increase my chances?

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Attorney answers 2


You ask a difficult question. No one can ever be sure of the outcome of litigation. That being said, let's go through your issues. We will go backwards. Item 8 and 7 do not make the lease unenforceable. Item 6 is creepy, but irrelevant. Item 5 may or may not be a requirement of the landlord depending upon the maintenance responsibilities in the lease. Items 1-4 may be violations of the lease agreement. I would suggest you try and take him to small claims court. I would not move out because you need some place to live and if you lose you would owe rent for this lease and whatever other lease you sign. You might settle the action quickly by suing him for breach of the lease and getting him to settle for letting you off the lease.


You need to read the lease to see what the default notice requirements and remedies are. You need to compare those to what is provided for in the Florida Statutes.

You will need to give notice that he is not complying with the lease. You then have options to withhold rent if not cured within a specific timeperiod. The statute shows how to give the landlord notice in order to be elgibible to withhold rent.

Landlord tenant law is one that allows for the recovery of attorneys fees. Thus you could probably find a lawyer that would take the case on contingency. However, the lawyer is not going to earn a monster fee, so it would not be out of the ordinary for the lawyer to charge a consultation fee or to require the client to pay the costs on such a case.

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