In Florida, if a landlord fails to make necessary repairs in your rental home, you may have the right to withhold rent. However, this decision is not without risks and should be carefully considered.
When a landlord fails to make repairs in your rental home, it, understandably, causes you concerns. You likely have the following questions: What should I do if my landlord fails to make repairs? Can I stop paying rent?
Unfortunately, like most items under Florida Landlord and Tenant law, the answer is not a simple “yes” or “no.” The answer to the above questions depends on several factors.
What Factors Should You Consider?
You should consider multiple factors. Does the landlord have a duty to make the repairs? Most tenants assume that the landlord is obligated to make repairs. However, this is not always the case. Do you have the ability and/or desire to terminate the lease and move? Are you willing to risk an eviction being filed?
Assuming the landlord must make repairs and you determine that withholding rent is in your best interests, you can withhold rent.
Your Right to Withhold Rent
In return for a landlord's duty to repair, you, as a tenant, are obligated to pay rent. However, if your landlord fails to repair, you have certain rights under Fla. Stat. §83.60(1)(b).
83.60 Defenses to action for rent or possession; procedure.—
(b) The defense of a material noncompliance with s. 83.51(1) may be raised by the tenant if 7 days have elapsed after the delivery of written notice by the tenant to the landlord, specifying the noncompliance and indicating the intention of the tenant not to pay rent by reason thereof. . . .
If your landlord fails to make repairs, it's a complete defense to an eviction action. Therefore, you can withhold rent for your landlord's failure to make repairs. However, you must withhold rent correctly and according to the above statute. Ultimately, while tenants in Florida may have the right to withhold rent due to a landlord's failure to make repairs, it is crucial to approach the situation carefully and make an informed decision.
It is important to strategize and consider the potential consequences before deciding to withhold rent. You do not want to end up facing an unexpected eviction action. If you need guidance in dealing with your landlord, consulting with experienced professionals in tenant rights who can provide you with options and advice may be helpful.
If you need guidance on dealing with your landlord, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We provide several options for tenants like you and invite you to complete our online form today to learn more about our services. We also invite you to contact us today.