Florida law requires the landlord to maintin the leased premises and keep it up to code. Window screens must be in reasonable condition at the start of the lease, and thereoafter only have to be repaired once a year.
Unless otherwise agreed in writing, the landlord of a dwelling unit other than a single-family home or duplex shall, at all times during the tenancy, make reasonable provisions for:
1. The extermination of rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs. When vacation of the premises is required for such extermination, the landlord is not liable for damages but shall abate the rent. The tenant must temporarily vacate the premises for a period of time not to exceed 4 days, on 7 days’ written notice, if necessary, for extermination pursuant to this subparagraph.
2. Locks and keys.
3. The clean and safe condition of common areas.
4. Garbage removal and outside receptacles therefor.
5. Functioning facilities for heat during winter, running water, and hot water.
The landord of a single family or duplex may waive all repair responsibilites in writing.
Where the landlord fails to mainting the leased premises, the tenant is required to give the landlord a 7 Day Notice to perform the repairs. The notice must itemize the repairs that the landlord is required to make. Then the landord has seven days to make a reasonable effort to perform the repairs. Not all repairs can be completed in seven days. If the landlord fails to make a reasonable effort to perform the repairs in the seven days, the tenant may then go on rent strike until the repairs are complete. If the tenant pays any rent, the 7 day Notice is cancelled and you will have to start all over again. If the conditions are so bad that the premises are uninhabitable, the tenant may move out and declare the lease terminated.
The tenant should be aware that the landlord will probably file an eviction for non-payment of rent. As long as the 7 Day Notice matured before the landlord's 3 Day Notice, the tenant will have a defense to the eviction. But as an eviction has been filed and the tenancy is at stake, as well as liability for court costs damages, and attorneys fees, the tenant is strognly advised to hire an attorney before going on rent strike.
This is the only remedy for failure to make repairs under the landlord-tenant statute. There is no provision for a money judgment, hotel bills, or inconvenience. While a court can abate the rent once the 7 Day Notice has matured, it may not order the refund of rent previously paid.