What will happen to me for stopping payment on rent check?

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What will happen to me for stopping payment on rent check?

We recently moved form the meth/crack/pit bull complex we were living in. I stopped payment on the rent check as we moved 5 days after I paid rent on the 1st. We had to clean and paint the place when we moved in because the landlord did not. They also tried to rip us off on our water bill numerous times. Now he threatens to have me arrested. What can I do?

Asked on November 15, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The good news is, you probably can't be arrested, unless it can be shown that you had criminal intent either when you leased or in the stopping of payment--e.g. an intent to defraud or never pay.

The bad news is, you can be arrested. You are in default on your rent and in breach of your obligations under the lease (whether it is written or oral). When a tenant doesn't pay, he or she can be evicted. If you feel the apartment was not habitable when you moved in, you could have tried to negotiate some credit or discount for the first month, and, if necessary and you and the landlord couldn't work one out, you could have brought a legal action for some monetary damages (e.g. sue in small claims for 5 days rent plus cleaning supplies). If you feel you are being ripped off on the water bill, again, you can take legal action, such as suing. However, you can't respond to the landlord by withholding your rent without running a substantial chance of eviction.


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