What’s the most my tenant can request in an abatement of rent?

UPDATED: Jul 27, 2011

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What’s the most my tenant can request in an abatement of rent?

My tenant owes me $1500 in past rent and late fees. In an attempt to get her to pay I turned her A/C off for 24 hours. That didn’t work so I turned it back on. Bad judgement on my part I know. I sent her a 3-day notice to pay or quit but she insists that the eviction process is going to take at least 2 weeks and by then she’ll have enough money to move out anyway. In my small claims court can I add these 2 weeks in to the amount of rent she owes me and the electric since I won’t be able to move anyone else in? What’s the worst I’m facing in getting my money and property back from this witch?

Asked on July 27, 2011 Florida


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your admitted turning off of the air conditioning of the unit occupied by your tenant would violate many laws in various states since it was done improperly and as a means of forcing her to pay overdue rent.

Your tenant could very well report you to the local rent control board for turning off the air conditioning or worse yet, hire a lawyer to sue you for the wrongful conduct.

The tenant owes you $1,500 currently. I suggest that you reach an agreement with the tenant in writing as to a set date for her move out with an agreed upon dollar discount as to what she owes you for rent and late fees with a full release by her of all claims known or unknown that she has against you to be signed by you and her. The agreement should be prepared by a competent landlord tenant attorney representing you alone.

You need to nip this dispute early. If the tenant files a lawsuit against you for turning off the air conditioning unit as leverage against her with a good attorney, your own legal fees will exceed $1,500 in a short time.

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