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The clerk says I have to "create your own petition/ document…

The clerk says I have...
The clerk says I have to "create your own petition/ document / complaint to intiate the court process".I thought I just bring the "Notice of Withholding Rent form" to them. ...And then the court may order me to deposit my rent into the court registry.... ?How do I write / create the petition?
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Answered in 10 minutes by:
3/26/2018
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 103,504
Experience: Attorney
Verified

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. There is no specific course of action is proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege formed within this conversation. (You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by the website and you are under no obligation to accept.)

What are you trying to do here, exactly? Are you filing an eviction, or, appealing an eviction decision?

And, what county/state is this in?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I am a tenant.
I have been living in a toxic house.

What county/state is this in?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Code Enforcement coming.
Inspector test results: mold. instalation toxicityMedical bills: $1000-3000How can I proceed/ exercise my rights?Sarasota FL

That depends. What do you wish to do? Terminate the lease, or, withhold rent? (Those are your two options.)

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
can you tell me about my options (both)
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
how can I protect myself from eviction.This past month has been very expensive with MEDICAL bills which landlord's negligence has caused.
Is there any way I can hold on to 100% of rent until court MAY order $ be put in escrow?

Okay. Well there is no need to go to court, yet.

Someone in your situation may wish to send a LETTER, because this establishes a formal request. The reason for this is because this letter serves as proof that the landlord has knowledge of the issues, and if they are not fixed, the tenant can then take certain steps to remedy the situation.

Let me know if you need a sample letter.

Landlord's Duty
The landlord is required to rent a dwelling that is fit to be lived in. This is generally called the "warranty of habitability." "It is clear that the Florida Residential and Landlord-Tenant Act imposes definite obligations upon the landlord which continue throughout the term of the lease and which did not exist under the common law." Paterson v. Deeb, 472 So. 2d 1210 - Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 1st Dist. 1985.

This is also written into Florida Code. FS Section 83.51 specifies the extent of the landlord's statutory obligation to maintain the leased premises:

"(a) Comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing, and health codes; or
(b) Where there are no applicable building, housing, or health codes, maintain the roofs, windows, screens, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations, and all other structural components in good repair and capable of resisting normal forces and loads and the plumbing in reasonable working condition. However, the landlord shall not be required to maintain a mobile home or other structure owned by the tenant."

This also includes:
"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 shall not be liable for damages but shall abate the rent. The tenant shall be required to 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.
2. Locks and keys.
3. The clean and safe condition of common areas.
4. Garbage removal and outside receptacles therefor.
5. Functioning facilities for heat during winter, running water, and hot water."

Tenant's Options
"The tenant has the right, under certain very aggravated circumstances caused by the landlord's neglect, to withhold rent. This can only be done when the landlord fails to comply with an important responsibility, such as providing a safe and habitable home in compliance with local housing codes. Before rent is withheld, the tenant must give the landlord seven (7) days written notice of the problem so the landlord can fix it. Even after withholding rent, the tenant should preserve the money and seek court permission to spend part of it to do what the landlord should have done. If the tenant does not preserve the money and seek court assistance, the tenant may be evicted for nonpayment." *
*Florida Bar Association's summary of law.

Application of Principles
Okay, so we have all this now and we can apply it. The landlord is arguably breaching the warranty of habitability. Someone in your situation needs to give 7 days WRITTEN notice demanding that this be fixed. If it is not then, then one can deduct rent and go to small claims court to have this action confirmed and the Court order the landlord to fix it and/or to have the deducted rent used to have your fix the matter with that money.

"I STRIVE FOR FIVE!" My goal is to answer your question to your satisfaction. Please rate with five stars (★★★★★) and click SEND. It does not cost anything extra to rate. You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars. Rating my answer the bottom two stars or failing to submit the rating reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. If you are not satisfied for whatever reason, or, have follow up questions, please simply reply with SEND before or after rating and let's continue to chat until you are satisfied. This is what I am here for.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
please sample letter.This man has had 4 months to correct the situation.
Completely in denial. passing the buck. trying to discredit me.

Sure. See below:

Dear ___________,
This correspondence is to give you formal notice of the following issues with my property: (list).
These issues fall under FS Section 83.51 and are the landlord's duty to repair. I ask that these issues be dealt with soon. Please contact me and tell me when and how these issues will be dealt with.
If there is no response within 7 days of your receipt of this certified letter, I may have no choice but to seek relief under the law as a tenant under Florida Statutes.
Thank you.
Sincerely,
Signature
Name

Kind Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or please rate positively and click SEND to submit your rating once satisfied. You may always ask follow ups at no charge before or after rating. "I STRIVE FOR FIVE!"

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
is this different than the Notice to withhold rent ?
I found something similar online.Again, the clerk says its not the "Notice" it is the "Petition/ Complaint" which I "create".
but she will not expand on that because it's "lagal advice"

Yes, it is. Notice of withholding rent is the notice you'd sent once/if the landlord does not fix the issue after the letter's due date is past. And the notice is not filed with the court, but, is simply send to the landlord.

There is no need to file anything with the court for either of those.

Kind Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or please rate positively and click SEND to submit your rating once satisfied. You may always ask follow ups at no charge before or after rating. "I STRIVE FOR FIVE!"

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I am confused.
Can emails qualify?If so there are emails from Dec and from last week.
Does this qualify as notice?

No, they do not. The notice must be sent via certified mail.

Kind Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or please rate positively and click SEND to submit your rating once satisfied. You may always ask follow ups at no charge before or after rating. "I STRIVE FOR FIVE!"

Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 103,504
Experience: Attorney
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Ely
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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