Witholding Rent Legal, But Not Final if Done Improperly | Health

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Witholding Rent Legal, But Not Final if Done Improperly
Health, News
Witholding Rent Legal, But Not Final if Done Improperly

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Darlene Poole said her Southside apartment has such a serious problem, she decided to withhold the rent. 

"We kept seeing them, just constantly seeing them," she said.

Poole and her brother Dennis live in the Pine Meadows apartment complex. She said they have had a recurring problem: bedbugs.

"We can't even sleep in our rooms now because of it," said Poole.

Poole is not on the lease, but she lives there and said they were advised to withhold the rent of $875 a month until the management gets rid of the bed bugs.

"I don't want to put money toward a place with bed bugs; my kids are getting bit, no," said Poole.

The management did respond, but Poole said the problem is still there, so they withheld the rent and filed complaints with Jacksonville Municipal code enforcement division.  On July 18, the complex was warned by the code enforcement officer to address the problem.

"The day that they (code enforcement) went to the office and cited them, the next day they (management) filed an eviction," said Poole.

ON YOUR SIDE:

Property manager Whitney Pringle said there is no relationship between the code enforcement complaint and the eviction lawsuit.

Pringle said the eviction is for non-payment of rent.

"We responded on many occasions," said Pringle.  Pringle said at one point she offered to let the tenants out of the lease.

"I said why don't we just part ways," said Pringle.

Pringle said the Poole and her brother made a partial rent payment in May, $439, and failed to pay the rent for June and July so she filed an eviction lawsuit.

"They did not go through the proper channels," she said.

They withheld the $875 a month rent, but did not save it and failed to put the money in the courthouse registry until the dispute was resolved.

They went to court and Poole lost her fight.

"We showed the judge the violations and he pushed it aside and said pay by Friday or you'll have to get out," said Poole.

She's leaving, but she has learned a tough lesson.  She feels she was bitten twice.

Can you withhold your rent if there's a dispute? The simple answer is yes but you have to walk the line.

  • Put your complaint in writing,stating the problems,and give the landlord seven days to correct.
  • Send it certified mail and be sure to state your intentions of withholding the rent.
  • If the problem is not corrected and you withhold the rent, save it.
  • The landlord will sue to collect and you must pay the rent into the court registry pending the outcome of the case.

For more details on chapter 83, Florida Landlord Tenant Act contact the state division of consumer affairs.

 

 

 

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