What is the date of notification on a Certified Mail when the letter was originally attempted delivery & refused but finally accepted 3 weeks later?

We have the right to withhold rent at a daily rate, beginning 7 days after the date of notification of necessary repairs and intent to withhold. We sent Certified Mail stating this (May 7th), post office attempted delivery May 9th but was refused; letter was attempted delivery again and this time accepted May 30th. No one bothered to pick letter up at the post office in the 3 weeks letter sat; meanwhile, repairs needed got worse and posed a significant threat to the integrity of the property (possible fire). What is the true date of notification for purposes of withholding rent?

Asked on June 8, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm not a Florida attorney, and my research suggests that while you do have the right to do this under your state's law, it can be very tricky, and if you're wrong, you can at least be made to pay your landlord's legal fees, and at worst you can be evicted.  I think you really should talk to a lawyer in your area about this, who can give you reliable advice based on all the unique facts of your case.  One place to find an attorney is our website, http://attorneypages.com

There well may be details, in the Florida law that sets up this process, that would answer your question.  As a general rule, it used to be the law in most states that "service" of a notice was complete on mailing.  I would guess that a judge would not allow a landlord to refuse a certified letter from a tenant for three weeks, to use that delay to the tenant's disadvantage -- but that, again, is a guess.  Please don't take unnecessary chances with the roof over your head, talk to a lawyer!


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