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Alex Esquire
Alex Esquire, Attorney at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 16721
Experience:  Experienced Licensed Attorney / Real Estate Law Mentor
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I recently signed a lease for an apartment in St. Petersburg

Customer Question

Hi, I recently signed a lease for an apartment in St. Petersburg Florida. It is for a high rise called Urban Flats. I was shown a 450 sq ft apartment, signed a lease for it, put down 1000.00 deposit. I paid the rent and and all the fee as well on Sept 10th . The apartment they gave me is 394-398 sq ft depending. I felt like I was baited and switched. When tell the management about it they do not care, they say, there is only 5 dollar difference in the price. That 's not the point. I need the extra 50 ft. The place is tiny. When I moved in on a Saturday, I was disgusted. I walked into the apartment and a noxious odor almost knocked me over. The place had wet, crumbling particle board baseboards that had been painted over. I could stick my finger into them. It was obvious the place had flooded. I also had roaches. I could see them running around in broad daylight. Doors in the apartment were falling off the hinges. The place was dirty and gross. My front entry door locked worked intermittently and I was afraid to lock it, because I did not want to be locked out. The list goes on. They told me they provided free internet and it was this big giant black phone that you had to keep plugged in the the already tiny apartment and it worked about 10% of the time.
I went down and talked to the woman in charge and told her this was not acceptable. I told her that I was reacting(respiratory- I had an instant reaction) to the smell in the place, the bugs and the door lock. She sent up a maintenance man and he told me to make a list. She was down right nasty. So nothing got done, so I called on Monday and spoke to the woman that had done my paperwork. She put in several work order and someone came to fix the lock a week to 10 days later. Nothing has been done or addressed. I could not move in. I was staying with my son and finally just went and got another apartment. I will not live in this dump. I suspect toxic mold. The guy the fixed the door told me they had all kinds of mold problems from the old building leaking. I am not overly picky. This place is a poorly managed dump and if you say anything they treat you like it's all on you.
I paid my rent on October 1st and filed another set of work orders. I want to stop payment on the check. I can't live in this dump. I have never really moved in. I couldn't. When I paid the rent, I went through the list of complaints again, again they put in a "work Order". I had a few things here, but since I couldn't lock the door and I could not move in furniture. This is a brief picture of what was wrong with the place. I am going to break the lease. I know I will probably not get back my 1000.00 deposit, parking fee, renter insurance, and a host of other hidden fees. So, I don't want them to get my Oct rent check of 825.50. Am I within my legals rights to stop payment and how can I call the county to come out and check for mold?. Also, there is no exhaust fans and you can smell other peoples and your own poop for hours. When I ask about this I was told, " we don't provide that service". There is a vent in the bathroom, but the maintenance man told me there is no motor for it. The hall carpets are cover with spots from dog pee and poo. The stair wells smell like pot, the whole build reeks of cigarettes and it is a no smoking facility. People hoot and holler in the court yard till the wee hours and there is basically no one minding the hen house. The parking service they employee is positively predatory. Do I have grounds to stop payment on the Oct 1st rent check? Thanks, April
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Alex Esquire replied 11 months ago.

Hello. My name is Alex.
Thank you for your question.
I will be happy to provide you with information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
​Unfortunately, generally, a tenant does not have the right to withhold rent in Florida and it is also illegal to stop payment on a check that was already issued and tendered to the landlord, instead, if the landlord doesn't resolve and fix all the issues listed on the work order, then tenant can file a lawsuit in the local county court for breach of lease and tenant would deposit any rent due to the court registry, where it would be kept until the judge decides on the case.

Also, local St. Petersburg code inspector can be contacted and they will send out an inspector to determine if the rental unit is subject to any code violations.

I wish you the best of luck!

Expert:  Alex Esquire replied 11 months ago.

Please let me know if you have any related follow up questions?
If not, please positively rate and accept my answer, so I can be compensated for my work.
Thank you.