Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Florida

I made several reports to my property manger about a leak, water damage, and a smell coming from under my kitchen sink/counter and bathroom sink. 1 year later a pipe broke in the wall of the house I rent causing quite a bit of damage. The pipe broke 03/24/12 the repairs/renovation wasn't comlete until 05/27/12 with a few minor things still to be repaired. I was first told that I would be put up in a hotel and the homeowners insurance would cover the cost of the lodging and food. Later she said she the homeowners insurance does not cover the renter, but the homeowner. I was told by my property manager that my rent for the months of April and May would be abated due to the inconvenience and to help cover the cost of my hotel/food during the renovation period. She said the homeowners insurance did not cover me being put up in a hotel and the owners agreed to abate the rent. I could remain in the home until the repairs are started and she would look into us being able to use one of their commercial storage units at a much lesser rate than renting one on my own. That never happened. I paid out of pocket for the hotel, food, storage unit, and more. Now the property manager is trying to bill me for the Month of May with late fees attached. I paid my June rent on June 1st with a memo stating "Paid in full" and mailed a certified letter to the homeowners themselves explaining my situation. I am still getting bills for the May rent with late fees constantly going up. What should I do? What are my legal rights? I have lived at this property for 13 years. I am a single parent that also takes care of my disabled mother. I do not have the money for April and May, that was spent on hotel, storage, and food for my family.

Thank you for any help you can give me on getting this matter resolved, and knowing my rights.

L. Lee

Asked on 6/24/12, 9:43 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Lucreita Becude Lucreita D. Becude, P.A.
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I would assume you have nothing in writing. Do you have any witnesses to your conversation with the property manager? YOu can see from this that you may not be able to recoup your loss. I suggest you write a letter to the property manager reminding them of the agreement that they made with you (send it certified return receipt requested). Send them a copy (you keep the originals always) of the expenses for the hotel and the storage fees that you paid. Since you have been there 13 years and this is the only incident of non payment of rent due to a verbal agreement - if they wish to take you to court they would more than likely lose. Verbal agreements are valid in the State of Florida since they can be performed without one year which this agreement did.

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6/25/12, 5:35 am

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