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Renter takes legal action after eviction notice for 'interfering with business operations'

Broken windows, holes in walls, dirty pools, trash piles -- one renter says enough is enough.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — (Note: The video above is from a previous, unrelated story.)

Florida has some of the highest rent prices in the country. An average one-bedroom is now over $1,200, a 27% increase over last year. Some renters feel like they're at a disadvantage. 

Broken windows, dirty pools, trash piles, one Boat House Apartments renter says enough is enough.

“The landlord has an obligation to keep up the property, fix minor things, they don’t fix nothing," resident Delano Brown said.

Florida law requires landlords in Duval County to comply with Jacksonville’s Property Safety and Maintenance Code and provide maintenance for things like working windows and having no leaks in walls or the roof. If there are issues, tenants can request an inspection.

That is exactly what Brown did.

“With the way the housing market is, the rent’s going up people are scared to say something or to speak up against them, I’m not afraid to talk," Brown said.

A city inspection on Feb 9 found the apartment's, "pools not maintained in sanitary condition” as well as “trash and debris” on the property. They also inspected Brown’s claims of holes and cracks in the stairway and said those issues need to be repaired.

The apartment manager has until March 11 to address the issues. Brown says some, like holes in the stairwell, are fixed. However, other problems, like the pool, still persist. 

After the inspection, an eviction notice against Brown was filed in Duval County Court. The notice cites "Harassing and interfering with business operations," saying Brown emailed over 60 complaints which they labeled quote “numerous and frivolous.” They also say Brown denied access to his unit for repairs.

Brown said he wasn’t given advance notice.

“That's retaliatory, eviction, what they're doing, and I have four complaints against them. And it's going to be rectified," Brown said. 

First Coast News spoke with the leasing office, which said they are aware of the complaints and has a legal team handling the matter. They declined further comment.

Brown has also hired an attorney and says some people may be afraid to speak up for fear of losing their apartments at a time when rental prices are at an all-time high.

Renters having problems can call the city's Code Compliance Division at 630-CITY for an apartment inspection or contact the Jacksonville Area Legal Aid to learn more about tenant's rights.

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