My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Florida
Hi there - I have been a bad situation for quite some time with a former roommate and I would really like some help building my defense as I am being sued, and going to small claims court to defend myself against the claim. I sincerely appreciate everyone's input. Thank you in advance.
The matter arises out of an apartment lease between myself and the plaintiff. Four months into our tenancy, a dispute between myself and the plaintiff occurred over a bill. The plaintiff turned physical, and ended up beating me up pretty bad. I immediately dialed 911 as the plaintiff fled the scene. The plaintiff finally returned at the request of the police and was then arrested, booked, and charged with battery. This guy was a few years older then me and just off of his rocker, I was a student and he was an angry bartender. At his trial the battery charge was acquitted, as the new state attorney forgot to ask myself to identify him as the person that committed the battery (Duh!).
After his arrest I spoke with the property management company in good faith to remedy the living situation, as it was undoubtedly unsafe. They provided me with (3) options to fix it - any of which I would have accepted - BUT they required both parties of the lease to agree to the actions. The property manager attempted to mediate the issue with the other party but they had already retained an attorney and called these request Extortion, and said they would not be responding. I returned to the apartment a few days later to find my key-locked room broken into and my belongings out of order. At this point I notified the property management company that I was moving out for my own safety, and gave them my contact information.
The roommates father who was a grantor of the lease, paid 1/2 of the rent each month for remainder of the lease. I also have documentation from the apartment complex that the Plaintiffs they inquired about switching to a 1-bedroom which they were told they could do, and they were also told by the apartment complex that they could evict just me for none payment (neither of which were done!).
Moving forward I am now being sued by the roommate and his father for 1/2 of the apartment rent for the months that I vacated. The lawsuit was 1st filed as Breach of Written Contract but was dismissed by the judge ( I didn't owe them the money but rather owe the complex), and was then re-filled for Breach of Oral Contract to pay 1/2 of each months rent for 1 year. There honestly was no such contract, as we just assumed when we signed the lease that things would be split 50/50. A few things to note about the original leasing contract is that it states that any arrest in considered Breach Of Lease Agreement and that no conviction is necessary. It also states that we were jointly and severally liable for rent.
Please help build by defense against these nut-bags! Thanks again