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Where the use of the leased premises is “substantially impaired”  by casualty damage,  the tenant, not the landlord,  has sole discretion to terminate the tenancy and vacate the leased premises.

Here is a Tenant Notice of Termination – Casualty

If the tenant elects to continue the tenancy, I recommend that the tenant issue a seven day notice to perform repairs to the landlord.   This will establish a lawful defense to the non-payment of rent if the landlord files an eviction. In this case,  the tenant will have to file a motion to determine rent, an answer and affirmative defenses in five business days of being served.  The court will then hold an evidentiary hearing on the condition of the premises and determine if the rent should be reduced.   The tenant will then have to pay the rent to the court registry as ordered by the court and as it comes due thereafter.   There are no grace periods once the court has ordered the rent paid to the court registry.

The tenant should try to come to an agreement with the landlord about the abatement or reduction of the rent and the repairs.  Bear in mind that the landlord’s legal duty is to act reasonably.  Not all repairs can be completed in seven days.

Note that service of an eviction can be done by posting,  so an eviction may proceed without a tenant having actual notice of it.  You can check to see if an eviction has been filed with the clerk of court.

Here is the link to the Monroe County Clerk of Court https://gov.kofiletech.us/FL-Monroe/disclaimer.asp

After clicking the disclaimer choose “civil”  and type your name.  If a case comes up, click view detail.  You will then see the case information.  At the bottom is the docket, a history of the events in the case.

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