(FLORIDA) - Facing repair issues in your rental property can often be a frustrating experience. In a recent Facebook Live event hosted by Florida Rural Legal Services attorney Tamara Williams and Marisol Hernandez shed light on how tenants can effectively handle repair issues while understanding their rights and responsibilities.
Attorney Williams began by emphasizing that landlords have certain duties to maintain a habitable living environment for their tenants. These duties include compliance with all applicable codes, such as building, housing, and health codes. In the absence of specific codes, landlords must ensure that all structural components are kept in good repair, resisting normal wear and tear. They are also responsible for addressing extermination needs, ensuring working locks and keys, and keeping common areas safe and clean.
It's important to note that tenants also have their set of responsibilities. According to Attorney Williams, tenants must refrain from damaging or defacing any property belonging to the landlord and must avoid unreasonably disturbing their neighbors. Attorney Williams illustrated this point with an example, highlighting that excessively loud music could be considered a breach of these responsibilities.
To get repairs done, Attorney Williams advised tenants to first refer to their lease agreement, as it may outline specific procedures for requesting repairs. Additionally, she stressed the importance of always sending a written request for repairs, which provides a clear record of the communication.
In cases where major repairs are needed and the landlord does not respond, tenants have options. Attorney Williams explained that tenants can contact Code Enforcement to report the issue and request an inspection. Once this form is filled out and submitted, tenants can proceed to file a notice of intent to withhold rent, if they do so at least seven days before the rent is due.
Attorney Williams made a crucial point about the money withheld for repairs. It's essential for tenants to save the withheld rent because if the landlord eventually makes the necessary repairs, tenants no longer have the right to withhold rent.
Handling repair issues in a rental property can be less stressful when tenants understand their rights and responsibilities. Attorney Williams, in the informative FRLS Facebook Live event, provided valuable insights on how tenants can effectively address repair concerns while staying within the bounds of the law. Remember, knowing your rights and following the proper procedures can make all the difference in ensuring a safe and habitable living environment.