Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Florida

I signed a lease for florida while still in Oklahoma I started paying rent 1august and paid September rent as well. I moved to florida on 6 sept and upon entering the house it was not clean and there were bugs. I emailed the landlord and asked if I could be released from the leas due to this and he said he would release me. He stated that he would return September rent as well as the security deposit and the electric bill I paid since I had never lived there. he had the place cleaned and I went back to check it out and told him we would take it but he told me that he was letting a widow move in so since I was still paying for a hotel I signed a new lease. I gave him my friends address and the check never came. then I get an email stating he changed his mind and was only giving us the security deposit back. I then gave the new address and he stated we misrepresented why we wanted out of the lease and he was now giving us nothing back. I have the original emails stating the house was filthy and not ready to move in as well as the bugs I found and that was why we wanted out of the lease. I have the landlords email stating he would release us and that he would send checks only to now find out he has changed his mind. I wanted to know if any of this would hold up in small claims court as we signed a lease after we were told he was giving it to the widow and we could not afford a hotel any longer. I am confused how he can release us from the lease and then go back and change his mind. This has cost us $5k for a house we never lived in. I have pictures as well of all the dirt and bugs and all email coordination with the landlord. I did express wanting to be closer to work however after living in a hotel for a few days and having dogs my options were limited and I just needed to get into a place so my kids had a place to sleep. please let me know if I have any rights or if the landlord can still go after me for the remainder of the lease. thank you.

Asked on 9/24/13, 3:59 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Barry Stein De Cardenas, Freixas, Stein & Zachary

Yes the emails if they are clear can probably hold up in small claims court. Small Claims court is limited to money damages of $5000 or less. In Florida, you can get attorney's fees for the return of a security deposit. Hire an attorney.

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Answered on 9/24/13, 8:50 pm

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