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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 12209
Experience:  JD, MBA
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I need to know how to file a small claims court case in

Customer Question

I need to know how to file a small claims court case in miami florida. Landlord is evicting me because i refused to pay rent because of termite infestation. I sent 7 day notice , reason why i did not pay rent and motion for court to determine rent to pay. I was denied motion and court wants me to pay $2000. I had to file the motion the same day so i did not have time to get my documents in order. Can I resubmit the paperwork to court? I also got paperwork today from the heath department stating the building is in violation and they have to fix the issue in 60 day. I need the best advice possible so I can fight this and get my money back. first, last and deposit.,
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do my very best to answer your legal questions.

Yes, you can resubmit your motion and paperwork to the court in a motion to reconsider. The court may or may not grant your motion to reconsider, but it is certainly an option. However, the Florida law states in part:

83.201 Notice to landlord of failure to maintain or repair, rendering premises wholly untenantable; right to withhold rent.When the lease is silent on the procedure to be followed to effect repair or maintenance and the payment of rent relating thereto, yet affirmatively and expressly places the obligation for same upon the landlord, and the landlord has failed or refused to do so, rendering the leased premises wholly untenantable, the tenant may withhold rent after notice to the landlord. The tenant shall serve the landlord, in the manner prescribed by s. 83.20(3), with a written notice declaring the premises to be wholly untenantable, giving the landlord at least 20 days to make the specifically described repair or maintenance, and stating that the tenant will withhold the rent for the next rental period and thereafter until the repair or maintenance has been performed. The lease may provide for a longer period of time for repair or maintenance.

Is the lease silent on the issue? Also, did you comply with that law by giving the landlord at least 20 days written notice to fix the issue before withholding rent? You mentioned a 7 day notice, but that would not be sufficient.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am on a lease. i don't really understand the silent lease procedure. I sent a lot of work orders on the companies website stating the termite issue. Please see
To whom this may concern,My apartment is unlivable due to the infestation of termites. My health is now in jeopardy due to the stress. I contacted a lawyer and was informed that it is illegal to charge rent with living wood eating organisms ( termite infestation) under florida state law. I am notifying you that I will not be paying my rent due to unlivable living circumstances. I was also told today that someone was in my apartment to treat the termites but that could not be possible because there was no access. So obviously that was untrue. I am a new tenant and I have never felt so insulted and disappointed in my current situation. I will be contacting the health depart monday morning and will be reporting this. I have documented every day with videos and pictures.David Cadiz
Requested by You on 05/06/2016
Maintenance Request #364-1
This request was completed on 05/09/2016
My apartment is still infested with termites. I took a nap and I woke up to termites all over me and my bed. This is unexceptionable. I have to stay at at a hotel tonight because of this issue. I can not live in this apartment. This is a health safety issue . This needs to be fixed or find me another place to live. I cant keep going to a hotel every night. My furniture is ruined and i have to leave my dog in a termite infested apartment.
Section 83.51(2)(a), F.S. Florida Statutes
1. The extermination of rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs. When vacation of the premises is required for such extermination, the landlord is not liable for damages but shall abate the rent. The tenant must temporarily vacate the premises for a period of time not to exceed 4 days, on 7 days’ written notice, if necessary, for extermination pursuant to this subparagraph.Requested by You on 04/27/2016
Maintenance Request #325-1
This request was completed on 05/04/2016
please call me in the morning. I can't even sleep in this place. termites everywhere.
david (###) ###-####Requested by You on 04/25/2016
Maintenance Request #306-1
This request was completed on 04/26/2016
I just moved in and there is a major termite infestation. There are hundreds of termites in the apartment. An exterminator needs to come today. . I can not live like this. I will be home from 12- 4 tomorow.(###) ###-#### *****
Requested by You on 04/25/2016
Maintenance Request #305-1
This request was completed on 04/26/2016Is this ok what i did?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
i could print it out and show proof.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi again.

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that you properly followed the law. You should have (1) written the problem on a piece of paper (not using a website); (2) not withheld rent until at least 20 days have passed (this assumes that the lease doesn't state that the landlord has more time); and (3) mailed the notice, hand delivered the notice, or done whatever the lease required with the notice if anything.

If it is true that you did not follow the law, then that is likely why the landlord won in court. At this point, you could give the proper notice now, and then proceed by withholding rent. Or you could sue the landlord in small claims court for a refund of the rent that you paid ... or a combination of both. But based on what you wrote, a motion to reconsider this ruling would probably not be successful.

I hope that helps. Please let me know if you need further clarification, and please remember to provide positive feedback. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have with held the rent since my move in. here is the exact dates and exactly what I did. I don't see how a landlord can get away with moving a new tenant into an infested place. I sent letters certified mail. I thought I did everything right:( I lost all my furniture and all my rent. I would of paid my rent but it was inhabitable.I signed my lease on april 5th 2016 I officially did not move in until april 18 th 2016. The day I moved in there was hundreds of live termites flying around the apartment. I spoke to the management and they sent an exterminator who treated the unit but the bugs returned the next day and there was even more.I called the office again and they treated the unit 2 more times . The termites kept coming back the next day and was always worse.I did not pay my rent due to the infestation and I wound up not even living there. They filled for an eviction on may 23rd 2016. On may 2oth I typed out my sent a 7 day notice to fix the termites issue or I would terminate the lease. The letter was sent certified mail on may26th.On may 30th I filled a file motion to determine my rent and also sent in a reason why I did not pay the rent to the court. This was hand delivered to the court. ( I also sent a certified copy to the landlord / building.)On june 2nd the court denied my request for a motion to determine my rent and is requiring me to pay $2000 to the court registry. They said I failed to have a bona fided issue supporting by sufficient documentation “Today june 7th the heath department came to the building and stated they are in violation and is giving them 60 days to fix the issues. If they don’t fix the issues the health department said they will be fined..Tomorrow a professional termite company “bug be gone” will be at the building to
To write me an inspection of the place.I have lost all my furniture, had to give away my dog because he was getting sick because of the termites and I will be losing my security. I do not have 2000 to pay the court and I do not want to live there. I have to save my money to get a new place since I lost everything. I cant afford a lawyer and I need to know the steps I need to take to get my security back and also get my 1st and last month since I could not live there. Also I have been extremely stress about this issue and I have high blood pressure.1st letter
Miami Beach, FL 33139From:
Date: 5/20/16
Tenant:This is to inform you that you are not maintaining my dwelling unit as required by Florida Statute 83.51(1) or material provisions of our rental agreement. If you do not complete the following repairs, non-compliance, violation or default, within seven days I intend to terminate the rental Agreement:TERMITE INFESTASHION – UNLIVEABLE
4-25-16 first official notice was sent. Withholding rent due to this non-complianceThis letter is sent to you pursuant to Florida Statute 83.56.
Letter to court
May 31, 2016
Case # *****
To the clerk of the court,The reason why I have not paid my rent is because the apartment is infested with thousand’s of termites. I have made numerous complaint’s and called the landlord over 10 times and nothing is being done. They need to have a professional termite exterminator to look at the situation. Not only is my apartment infected the whole building in including common hallways are infected.May 31, 2016
Case # *****
To Whom this may concern,I would like to file a motion to have the court determine the amount to be paid for my rent at*****#3 Miami beach, Fl 33141. The apartment is infested with termites and has been since I moved in. I had to throw away all my furniture and had to give away my dog because the living condition was inhabitable. I have not lived in the unit since April 20th 2016. I also have video footage.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi again.

The only way to force the landlord to give you back any money that you've already paid would be to file a small claims lawsuit against the landlord. The maximum amount that you can sue for in small claims is $5000. You can get the required small claims forms from the court clerk. You must fill out and file the forms, and get the landlord served (usually via the sheriff). Then a trial date will be scheduled. At the trial, you must prove that the property was uninhabitable, so you should bring all of your evidence with you (e.g., pictures, videos, witnesses, etc.). If you are claiming any additional damages for the dog, furniture, etc., you must also bring evidence of that.

Is that the information you were looking for?

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello again. I didn't hear back from you, so I'm just checking in to make sure that you don't need more help on this issue. If not, then please remember to provide a positive rating (and note that your positive rating is the only way that I'll get credit for helping you, so I greatly appreciate it). Thank you!

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