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There is no predicting what some judges will do

A tenant complained that the conditioner was only working on slow speed . The tenantdid not issue a seven day notice to perform repairs to the landlord. The tenant claimed to have paid a friend $1044 cash to fix the air conditioner and to have stayed in a hotel for $125.96, but did not have a receipt. Consequently the tenant refused to pay July rent, the then after the repairs did not pay August rent. The landlord filed an eviction for non-payment of rent. The court set a rent determination hearing on its own motion. The court was presented with case law establishing that the tenant may not unilaterally repair and deduct, but must first issue a 7 day notice to perform repairs to the landlord. Only after the landlord has failed to make the repairs contained in the notice does the tenant have a defense to non-payment of rent. [ see Mazon v. Parker, 8 Fla.L.Weekly Supp 116a County Court Sarasota 2000, and Lee v. Swchweizer , 7 Fla L. Weekly Supp 750a, County Court Sarasota 2000].  Nevertheless Judge Robert W. Lee in Broward deducted the tenants repair and hotel bills from the rent, ordering the tenant to pay the balance of the past due rent into the court registry. [Ransom v. Connelly 11-15431 (53) Broward 2011). This ruling sets a dangerous precedent for tenants to withhold rent and make unauthorized repairs without having to provide the landlord prior written notice and an opportunity to perform the repairs as provided under the Florida Statutes, Section 83.51 duty to maintain premises, and 83.60 “defenses to action for rent,” requiring the tenant to have issued a 7 day notice of non-compliance to the landlord in order to raise failure to make repairs as a defense to non-payment of rent.

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