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Loren, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33547
Experience:  30 years of real estate practice experience.
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My landlord went and sodded the backyard of the property we

Customer Question

My landlord went and sodded the backyard of the property we rent. I told him not to do that until our lease was up. I now have huge water bills. Do I have to right to withhold my rent in the amount over and above my normal water bill? The landlord is to maintain the grounds as per the lease. He installed the sod when I was at work. I came home to a sodded yard in the beginning of June, 2016.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Good morning. I am Loren, a Florida licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you.
Have you discussed the matter with the landlord to see if they will voluntarily pay the excess water bill (as determined historically)?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I sent him an email this A.M. I need to know where I stand as he is a realtor and I imagine not taking this well.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the additional information. I am sorry to hear of your dilemma.   I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.
Unfortunately, if you unilaterally withhold rent you will be subject to eviction for nonpayment. However, since the landlord is obligated to maintain the loan, he or she is responsible for the water charge and the excess can be determined using your historical billing records.
If the landlord will not reimburse you for the unauthorized use of your water you will need to sue them in small claims court.
Small claims court is designed to be "user friendly" so that you can present a claim without an attorney. Also, it moves much more quickly than regular court.   You can get the necessary forms to start from the clerk of the court.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Before suing, you may want to have your attorney send a threatening letter. That may intimidate the landlord into meeting their obligation to you.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Are you still onle with me?
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
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