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Mold, broken appliances and AC outages? First Coast attorney explains your rights as a renter

Legal experts suggest reviewing your lease agreement.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In his 24 years as an attorney, Seth Rothstein has worked thousands of real estate cases in Florida. His work includes representing clients who are renters.

"I think that most tenants want to keep their place looking nice and try to pay their rent," Rothstein said. 

In Florida, tenants have the right to withhold paying rent if their landlords are not living up their responsibilities. The legal expert suggested renters should first, review their lease agreement. 

He said in a residential lease, landlords are usually responsible for the structure of the home, plumbing and the electricity. For example, if a renter is having problems with mold from a leaking pipe or the A/C is out. 

Rothstein said leave a paper trail. 

"You have to give your landlord seven days written notice - telling the landlord what the problem is, giving the landlord a chance to remedy the problem and then telling the landlord if they don't remedy the problem that you intend to withhold the rent," the attorney explained. 

Rothstein pointed to Chapter 83 of the Florida statutes, however, residents do not have the right to hold off paying rent for every issue; including pest control and appliances. 

"Appliances aren't covered in Florida statues," Rothstein said. "So you'd have to look at your lease to see whether that's something that the landlord would be required to maintain or not." 

While the tenant is responsible for the rent, they're also obligated to live in a home that is in working order. 

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