You can withhold rent from a landlord, but only if you do it legally

Carrie Radovan says her apartment at Sunrise Tower Apartment’s has always been bad, but now,it’ss unbearable, “I’ve had to buy new clothes for my kids I’ve had to buy new furniture because we lost furniture from mold.”

Radovan says she has mold growing inside her apartment and says she’s not paying rent
until maintenance cleans it up, “I started withholding my rent since February and now I got a final notice on my door this morning that I needed to be out by Tuesday.”

MORE: Residents say conditions at Fort Myers apartment complex ‘horrible’

So what are the laws when it comes to witholding rent?

Attorney, Gerry Olivo says you have to give your landlord a written notice, first, “You have to give the landlord a notice and give them the opportunity to come in and fix things, you have to wait so much time, you have to give them a notice you’re going to withhold rent and where the money is going to be.”

He says you can start withholding rent money if they haven’t fixed the issues after 20 days, “Often times in rental agreements there are mold addendums and portions of the agreement that refer directly to mold and how it is to be handled.”

And if you’re going to withold the money. Don’t spend it!

When withholding the money you should open an escrow account and hold all rent monies there, so it’s available.

Olivo says that if you are evicted from your apartment, the court will ask you to provide that rent money you have saved up. He says that if your landlord repairs the issues, you are responsible to pay them in full for the amount withheld.

PDF DOWNLOAD: Notice from tenant to landlord on withholding rent from the Florida Bar