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Can You Stop Paying Rent if Your Landlord Fails to Make Repairs?


If your landlord fails to make necessary repairs or violates housing codes, you may be thinking about stopping to pay rent. But are you legally allowed to do that in Florida without facing an eviction notice?

What Are the Obligations and Duties of Your Landlord?

In Florida, landlords are legally required to comply with housing, building, health codes, laws, and ordinances. The exact duties of your landlord depend on whether you rent an apartment, home, or commercial premises.

If you live in an apartment building, your landlord is required to provide or ensure:

  • Plumbing and hot water
  • Heat
  • A clean and safe environment around the building
  • Garbage pickup
  • Reasonable security measures, including working and locking doors and windows
  • Eliminate rodents and bugs, including bedbugs

If you live in a standalone home, it is important to review your lease agreement. Many landlords delegate many of their duties and obligations to tenants.

What to Do if Your Landlord Fails to Make Repairs?

If your landlord violates housing codes or fails to make necessary repairs or keep the environment clean and free of hazards, you should discuss your options with a competent landlord & tenant attorney in your city.

Under the Florida Statutes Section 83.51, tenants are not allowed to make repairs and then subtract the cost of repairs from their rent payments unless their landlord agrees to do so. Generally, you have two options:

  1. If you want to move out, you must provide your landlord with a 7-day notice to give them a chance to fix the issue. If the condition is not fixed or the landlord does not make a reasonable effort to solve the problem, you can move out immediately.
  2. If you want to stay, you can stop paying rent – or, in other words, withhold rent payments – until your landlord makes a reasonable effort to fix the issue.

Are Commercial Landlords Required to Make Repairs?

Florida courts have repeatedly held that commercial landlords have an obligation to maintain or perform repairs in the leased premises only when they expressly agreed to do so. Under Florida law, commercial landlords have no legal duty to make repairs or maintain the leased premises.

Also, the fact that a commercial landlord voluntarily performed repairs in the past does not create an obligation to continue making repairs in the leased premises. Thus, landlords must specifically state in the lease agreement what, if any, repairs will be part of their duties.

A provision stating that the tenant has no obligation to perform repairs or replace an item does not create an obligation on the part of the landlord. If an obligation is not specifically stated in the lease, there is no such obligation. You should consult with a Tampa commercial landlord & tenant attorney if you have a dispute with your landlord or tenant about who should be responsible for making repairs in the leased premises.

Contact our lawyers at HD Law Partners to schedule a case review. Call at 813-964-7878 to discuss your legal options during a free phone consultation.

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