What can I do after a notice of non compliance is sent and some things are still not fixed?

Asked by Ilana Krauss, Miami, FL Fri Feb 20, 2009

I feel robbed by the landlord - I pay a lot of money to rent this house and the swimming pool heater does not work, the pool blanket was never replaced, so the pool is useless for at least half of theyear... The house needs painting inside and out, and roof needs cleaning and more. The landscape lighting were never fixed, the alarm system which is structural to the house does not work - and was "sold" as part of the features on the MLS . The owner fixed some things, but I had to fight for that... They said they would do the painting and roof IF I COMMIT TO ONE MORE YEAR - 5 months before the end of the contract...I said I could not commit at this time, then all the problem of fixing what is broken started...I considered it blackmail and now I want to get out of the contract or hold part of the rent until my contract is over in the end of June. They are absentee owners with no property management at all. I am in no position to pay for an attorney at this point - what should I do?

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Audra McColl…, Agent, Miami, FL
Sun Feb 22, 2009
BEST ANSWER
Dear Iliana,

I am so sorry to hear about your situation. You should certainly contact a real estate attorney (see about a free consultation) because your problem may be easily solved if the Landlord receives a letter from an Attorney advising you might start paying your rent to the Clerk of Court directly instead of the Landlord. Do not stop paying your rent or the owners will be able to evict you. Maybe the Realtor who rented the house to you has a lawyer friend you could contact?

I'm not a lawyer, and I can not give legal advice, but I think you should definitely speak to a lawyer - it will probably save you money and heartache in the long run. Also, please keep in mind that some things you mentioned in your list above (like peeling paint) should have been negotiated and repaired/replaced BEFORE you took possession of the home, but things like working pool equipment probably are mentioned in your lease and, depending on how the lease was written, may be the responsibility of the Landlord to properly maintain, repair or replace. Take your lease with you and the Contract to Lease or Memorandum to Lease (the offer you made) when you meet with the Attorney.

I believe an Attorney might tell you that you can make payments to the Court directly, but I couldn't find the info online. I suggest you give them a call. Here's the info:

CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT AND COUNTY COURT,
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA
Miami-Dade County Courthouse
73 West Flagler Street, Suite # 242 | Miami, Florida 33130
Telephone: (305) 275-1155 | Business Hours: 9:00am - 4:00 pm
1 vote
Other/Just L…, , Fleming Fitch Grant, Holly Hill, FL
Sun Feb 22, 2009
Information for you from the Florida Bar:

http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBConsum.nsf/0a92a6dc28e76ae5…
1 vote
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