This section was developed to better help you, the client, in getting prepared to have a formal legal dispute with a Landlord (or his/her agent/attorney) that is usually more well versed in the ins and outs of the law.
Getting prepared first involves wrangling up those papers you signed one day, long ago. Yes, that means looking into that filing box you likely never got around to labeling. Some of the physical documentation you might already have would be:
- Your lease/rental agreement along with any papers attached to that agreement.
- The above rental agreement may have a checklist that you and your landlord checked off before moving in that acknowledges the condition of the condo/apartment/home before you moved in. If not, perhaps you might of done your own checklist at the time? Or took pictures?
- Find and bring any checks or bank statements/deposits which may show how much and for when rent was paid to the Landlord.
- Did you receive any notices from the city, county, or other govt. entity which state that a certain portion of the property (tall grass, structural problem, bad water) is out of compliance with local regulations? If so, bring those to the attention of your attorney whether or not you still have them.
- Gather any notices you may have brought to the attention of your Landlord by certified mail, or otherwise, for problems you had related to the rental (plumbing, electrical, smoke alarms, etc.)
- Bring all notices you received from the Landlord along with any envelopes or other documents that may prove when such notice was sent and/or received.
After collecting those documents/papers which would have already existed you should then take these additional steps:
- Take pictures. Take pictures of the unit with the highest quality camera you have. If you don’t own a good camera consider borrowing one from a friend. If all else fails borrow the newest Apple iphone or Android phone from a friend.
- Create a clear statement, intended for your attorney only, that details the amounts you believe is owed by the Landlord. Also detail the amounts and things you do and don’t dispute with relation to the unit.
- You may have had persons who helped you move out. Log that persons name down for your attorney with contact information. Your attorney might use such person as a witness on your behalf.
- You may have had a cleaning company come in after moving out? If so, obtain receipts as well as that persons/companies name and contact information.
We all tend to learn from our mistakes. If you failed to do any of the above steps hope is not all lost as much of what is required by Florida Statute 83.49 is the Landlord’s burden. Contact Levi Lawrence Wilkes, Atty at Law, PLLC today for a free consultation.