Every tenant should know that they have the right, pursuant to Florida’s Landlord-Tenant Act (Ch. 83, Fla. Stat.), to a habitable housing environment. If you have not been injured but simply want your landlord to remediate the mold, the law provides you with a few alternative options to remedy the situation:
- Repair and deduct: This strategy involves the tenants paying for the mold remediation and repairs out of their own pockets and then deducting the costs from future rent payments. The benefit is that you know for certain that the toxic mold in your rental unit will be cleaned up, though you will have to incur expenses up front.
- Rent Withholding: As long as you have sent the landlord a very specific written notice by mail or hand delivery, Florida law (§83.201, Fla. Stat.) also you to withhold rent. The notice must declare the premises to be “wholly untenantable,” describe the precise repair or maintenance, give the landlord at least 20 days to make the repair, and state that rent will be withheld until the repairs are performed.
- Break the Lease: If all else fails, tenants have the right to terminate their lease, again, provided that they give proper 7-day notice according to a very specific process outlined at §83.56, Fla. Stat. Not following the process exactly can have negative repercussions.