Category: Florida Law Blog

Petit Theft in Florida

Petit Theft Florida First Time Offender

Petit Theft Florida First Time Offender | Petit Theft in Florida

Florida Statute 812.014 and its subsections clearly identify what constitutes Petit Theft in Florida. The two titles of this article are Petit Theft Florida First Time Offender, and Petit Theft in Florida because these are common search terms for defendants accused of committing a crime or crimes, and we want you to be able to obtain the legal help you need to reduce or eliminate the charges brought against you.  Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter by further analyzing the wording and the practical applications of the Statute.

Petit Theft Florida First Time Offender

Florida’s Petty Theft Statute | Petit Theft Statute

According to F.S. 812.014, if the property stolen by the alleged criminal is valued at more than one-hundred dollars ($100.00), and less that three-hundred dollars ($300.00), this is considered to be first degree Petit Theft, which is the crime committed by a Petit Theft Florida first time offender. The theft of property valued at less than one-hundred dollars ($100.00), is generally considered to be a second-degree misdemeanor with reduced penalties, but it is nonetheless something you DO NOT want on your record.

The Statute continues to spell out what happens if the accused has committed Petit Theft before and has been convicted once, twice, or several times. If a person has committed Petit Theft in Florida and has already been accused and convicted of theft, thereby commits a first-degree misdemeanor. A criminal defendant who has two or more convictions for any theft and then who commits a Petit Theft, commits a third-degree felony, which comes with significantly higher punishments if convicted. In cases where the potential punishments are high and your liberty may be at stake, consider hiring a Lake County Florida Criminal Defense Attorney and/or a Lake County Florida Criminal Lawyer to aggressively defend you.

Lake County Florida Criminal Lawyer

Lake County Florida Criminal Defense Attorney: Lake County Florida Criminal Lawyer

Petit Theft in Florida takes place every day. For example, shoplifters steal steaks, candies, cell-phone equipment or other electronics, groceries, and the list continues ad nauseam. If you are a Petit Theft Florida first time offender, it is possible you were caught at stores such as Publix, Walmart, or Target, and the store(s) wish to prosecute to prevent the commission of additional Petit Theft in Florida. In essence, if you believe you need legal help, call a Lake County Florida Criminal Defense Attorney, Lake County Florida Criminal Lawyer, today to protect yourself against a harsh punishment.

Lake County Florida Criminal Defense Attorney

In many ways, people searching for information about the laws in Florida are similar to people looking on the internet for medical diagnoses on WebMD or similar sites. A huge difference is that Florida laws such as for Petit Theft in Florida, are Florida-specific because our State governs itself by the laws of the Florida Legislature and as interpreted by our courts. Jonathan Jacobs of the Jacobs Law Firm, is a Lake County Florida Criminal Defense Attorney and a Lake County Florida Criminal Lawyer.

Burglary in Florida

Burglary in Florida

Burglary Defense in Florida, Burglary in Florida

In this article we will explore burglary defense in Florida and burglary in Florida generally, as well as the penalty for burglary in Florida, and answer the question, “what does burglary of a conveyance mean?” If you have been accused of committing burglary in Florida, you should consider calling Jonathan Jacobs, criminal defense attorney in Orlando Florida, and criminal defense attorney in Clermont Florida.

Florida Burglary Statute: What Does Burglary of a Conveyance Mean?

The Statute provides that a “Conveyance” is any “motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car.” According to the revised relevant portion of Florida Statute 810.02 (the burglary in Florida law), if the accused has committed burglary after July 1, 2001, the definition of burglary is the “entering” or a home (also called a “dwelling” which can mean any type of residence, whether a condominium, town home, villa, house, or apartment), or a conveyance (a conveyance is a motorcycle, an RV, a car, an SUV, a truck, or some sort of moving vehicle used for transportation), with the intent to commit a felony or a misdemeanor once inside.

burglary defense in florida

The exception to the rule is if the premises are not private, meaning the dwelling or conveyance is open to the general public which technically grants visitors a license to enter, or if the accused/defendant is legitimately licensed to enter.

The rule continues to explain that if a licensee is privileged to enter the dwelling, structure or conveyance, if that person remains inside once permission has been revoked, and remains inside secretively or with the intent to commit a crime, that is the commission of burglary in Florida. Next, we will cover the penalty for burglary in Florida, and then answer the question, what does burglary of a conveyance mean?

The Penalty for Burglary in Florida

The Penalty for Burglary in Florida

The penalty for burglary in Florida can be as high as life imprisonment, but only under specific circumstances that may warrant such a punishment of burglary as felony in the First Degree. For example, if during the course of the commission of a burglary in Florida, the accused assaults or batters any person within the premises, if the accused is armed with a weapon (including but not limited to guns, knives, or explosives).

The penalty for burglary in Florida can be a felony of the Second Degree if the burglar does NOT enter the structure, dwelling, or conveyance with a weapon, and does NOT commit an assault or battery, but there may or may not be another person (victim) inside of the premises.

What does burglary of a conveyance mean

What does burglary of a conveyance mean?

What does burglary of a conveyance mean? The standard layman’s definition of burglary of a conveyance is when a burglar seizes (it can be by force) and takes possessions from the car, motorcycle, or other conveyance (vehicle of some sort), and uses it as his/her own without the consent of the owner of the conveyance.

In regular plain English, what does burglary of a conveyance mean? Simply speaking, it is stealing from a car, motorcycle, RV, truck, etc. For example, if a juvenile delinquent steals money and a camera or a cell phone from a car on the street, that is considered burglary of a conveyance (moving vehicle, combustion engine). A burglary defense in Florida could be that the officer mistook the defendant for another individual. Depending on the severity of the alleged burglary, a withhold of adjudication or pretrial diversion might be attainable. It is a fact-specific and criminal-history specific potential outcome.







Does Child Support Automatically Stop When Child Turns 18 in Florida

Does Child Support Automatically Stop When Child Turns 18 in Florida

The best way to analyze the question of, Does Child Support Automatically Stop When Child Turns 18 in Florida, is by understanding and interpreting the Florida Child Support Statute. When a child reaches 18, which is known as the age of “majority” in Florida, child support terminates with a court order. Child support may also stop automatically if the Department of Revenue is abiding by its own order. However, Florida Statute 743.07(2) provides at least three exceptions to this general rule. Attorney Jonathan Jacobs is a child support lawyer in Orlando and a child support lawyer in Clermont Florida that offers legal help to great people when they need someone to fight for them. Can I stop paying child support when Child turns 18 in Florida? Call 407-335-8113 for legal help today.

A Florida court may exercise its judicial discretion (upon the presentation of competent and substantial evidence warranting such a showing) impose a child support order that goes beyond a child’s 18th birthday. This can happen if the child is mentally or physically incapacitated or has not yet graduated from high school but has a reasonable expectation of graduating before turning 19. Such a mental or physical incapacity must have originated (existed) prior to the child turning the age of majority (18 in Florida). Examples of such incapacity must be proven to the court, which could include lengthy hearings involving the presentation of evidence justifying such an exception to the general rule. Attorney Jonathan Jacobs is a child support lawyer lake county Florida, and child support lawyer Orange County Florida. It is important to address another popular question of can I stop paying child support when child turns 18 in Florida.

Can I Stop Paying Child Support When Child Turns 18 in Florida?

To answer the question of can I stop paying child support when child turns 18 in Florida, we look to the second statutory exception to the general rule of termination. The second exception to the general rule of termination of child support upon the child’s 18th birthday, is if the child is still enrolled in high school and has a reasonable expectation (high probability, in all likelihood) of graduation by the age of 19, child support payments may be extended for approximately one year, or until graduation. The Rule itself provides that child support cannot be extended if the child is dilly-dallying and failing to advance in school, or has dropped out and seeks to later re-enroll. If the child is working hard toward obtaining a high school diploma, and reasonable circumstances have caused a late graduation, then child support payments may be extended in such a circumstance.

Can I Stop Paying Child Support When Child Turns 18 in Florida

Child Support Lawyer Lake County Florida, Child Support Lawyer Orange County Florida

Another answer to can I stop paying child support when child turns 18 in Florida, is provided by the third exception to the general rule that child support terminates upon the child’s 18th birthday. A payor of child support can stop if or when the parties agree to a separate arrangement. The court does not have to authorize this arrangement, but some parties stringently refuse to accept payments in exchange for maximum timesharing (i.e. the other party receiving no contact and no timesharing with the child). Generally, this may require a termination of parental rights and a concurrent adoption by another parent. Child support arrears are often bargained in return for such timesharing arrangements.

Does Child Support Automatically Stop when Child Turns 18 in Florida 

Remember, that the Department of Revenue, like many agencies, will continue enforcing an existing order unless there has been a Motion to Terminate Child Support. If the suppoer payments are made through an income deduction ordered imposed by the DOR, a Motion to Vacate the Income Deduction Order may be required. Therefore, to answer this question, does child support automatically stop when child turns 18 in Florida, it is important to note that the DOR generally requires official notice to terminate, even if the child is 18 years of age, and by statute should no longer be eligible for child support. This ensures that payments are made until the statute no longer governs upon the minor child’s 18th birthday, unless otherwise specified in the order. This rule is intended to protect minor children.

Contact the Jacobs Law Firm, child support lawyer Lake County Florida, child support lawyer Orange County Florida today to find out more about your obligations. Can I Stop Paying Child Support When Child Turns 18 in Florida? Does Child Support Automatically Stop When Child turns 18 in Florida? The Statute answers both of the central questions at least in a general sense, not taking into account the specifics of your case.

Child Support Lawyer Lake County Florida

Do you need information on domestic violence and child custody? Parenting plans in Florida? Social media’s impact on divorce? Divorce mediation? Child support health insurance? Florida Alimony and Family Law? Click on any of our articles and visit our Florida Law Blog. The Jacobs Law Firm offers help when you need a child support lawyer Lake County Florida, or a child support lawyer Orange County Florida.

Lake County Florida Divorce Attorney

Small Claims Lawyer Orlando

Small Claims Lawyer Orlando, Small Claims Attorney Orlando

Filing a lawsuit in small claims court in Florida can be done in at least two ways. First, the litigant/plaintiff may file pro se, where the person represents himself or herself. Second, the plaintiff may retain the help of a small claims lawyer Orlando or small claims attorney Orlando. The first method involves the pro se plaintiff doing a great deal of extra research about Florida’s rules of evidence and civil procedure, and may involve personal visits to the courthouse to visit the Clerks of Court. A pro se litigant must compile and organize the evidence he or she intends to use. The self-represented person should understand the Florida Rules of Evidence from the Florida Evidence Code in order to be competent in court to persuade the judge or jury to rule in their favor. Generally, the best results can be achieved by hiring a small claims lawyer. Call us at 407-335-8113 or e-mail us at to speak with a small claims attorney today.

Small Claims Court Lawyer Orlando

Hiring a small claims court lawyer Orlando, to raise a claim for damages is a reasonable approach. First, your small claims court lawyer Orlando can identify what evidence he needs to ensure you have a strong case that can be presented to the court. Essentially, your attorney’s job is to use your facts and his experience to persuade the judge to rule in your favor. Second, your small claims attorney Orlando will ask you to collect all relevant documents and photographs. Your participation will allow Attorney Jacobs to draft a persuasive complaint based on the most relevant facts the court should consider. Third, your small claims court lawyer Orlando can file the pleadings (complaint and attachments, as well as any other information the court may require). Unless, of course, you prefer to go to the courthouse and figure out where to file the documents on your own as a pro se litigant.

Small Claims Attorney Orlando

What Can Your Small Claims Lawyer Orlando, Small Claims Attorney Orlando Do for You?

Fourth, your litigation attorney can inform you about the process of litigation, prepare you for mediation and trial, propose reasonable settlement expectations, and ensure you are ready to pursue the defendant.

Fifth, your small claims lawyer Orlando, small claims attorney Orlando will navigate the trial on your behalf. This is a highly-complex process that involves trial preparation, trial guidance, and trial strategy. Witnesses may need to be called.

Ultimately, if you are undecided as to whether you need an attorney to represent you in your small claims litigation, ask yourself a simple question; “can you win a trial on your own without the help of a trained legal professional?” If you have any doubt, at a minimum, call the Jacobs Law Firm to find out how Attorney Jacobs, small claims court lawyer Orlando, recommends you proceed with your case. A free initial consultation could turn into litigation representation and an increased chance of victory in your small claims litigation. For a list of the small claims rules in Florida, please visit the Florida Bar’s Small Claims Manual.

Filing a False Police Report Florida

Filing a False Police Report Florida

In Florida, Florida Statute 837.05 and its subsections govern false reports to law enforcement. This article is about the Statute on Filing a False Police Report Florida and the potential punishment you might face as a result of a conviction if you are accused of filing a false police report in Florida. The State Attorney’s Office (depending on the county were you reside) may choose to file charges against you if you alert law enforcement to the commission of a crime without any proof and without justification. There are defenses to these charges, and it is in your best interest if you stand accused of filing a false police report in Florida to hire a Criminal Defense Attorney. What is the penalty for filing a false police report in Florida?

The penalty can be rather severe if the defendant is convicted. In fact, the Statute clearly states that a first time filer of a false report could be convicted for a first degree misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail. A second time offender could be charged with a third degree felony, which carries a significantly higher penalty. Statutorily, a third degree felony in the State of Florida is punishable by up to 5 years of imprisonment, 5 years of probation time, and a monetary fine not to exceed $5,000. The lesson of this outline of potential punishments is: do not file a false report under any circumstances.

Burden of Proof: Filing a False Police Report in Florida

The burden of proof for Filing a False Police Report Florida, according to the statute, is a “knowing” requirement. This means that the State must prove the defendant “knowingly” provided false information to the police about the alleged crime. Knowingly is a state of mind requirement which means the defendant deliberately and willfully filed a false police report. Knowingly is a term modeled after the Model Penal Code, or MPC. The burden of proof filing a false police report Florida is high, which is why the State would likely file only in egregious or severe cases.

Clermont Florida Criminal Defense Attorney: Giving False Information to a Police Officer Florida

The means by which a defendant may be guilty of giving false information to a police officer Florida is by oral communication, written communication, or by recording. Essentially, giving false information to a police officer Florida is a poor decision showcasing poor judgment. When filing a police report consider whether the information you are providing is accurate and will help law enforcement investigate without the need to question the source, as opposed to going after the alleged real criminal. If you need to speak with an attorney call the Jacobs Law Firm at (407) 335-8113.

We offer additional articles on other crimes in Florida for your reading pleasure. Domestic violence around the kids. Marijuana possession. Burglary in Florida. First time petit theft in Florida. To browse our other legal articles visit the Florida Law Blog.

social media and divorce florida

Social Media and Divorce Florida

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. LinkedIn. Snapchat. Pinterest. Reddit. Tumblr. This article is about social media and divorce Florida. Not all social media websites impact spouses or unmarried couples, but many of them can. Recently, there has been a great deal of discussion in the media about the effect of popularity and approval on social media and beyond. There are psychologists and social media executives who believe social media can alter peoples’ perceptions in unpredictable ways, the dopamine factor among them. Let’s take a moment to theorize, and if there is a confluence of theory and law I will note it, about the ways in which social media causes divorce Florida. Jonathan Jacobs is a Lake County Florida Family Law Attorney.

Social Media Causes Divorce Florida

First, (this is a hypothetical scenario to engage the mind) imagine that Person X (male or female) logs online to surf/browse social media sites (the sites listed above). What is Person X likely to see a lot of? Beautiful people in nice places who are smiling, laughing, and living a luxurious existence. Contrast that sort of perfection and imagery with the comparative humdrum and grind of daily family life. Imagine if Person X works 10-12 hours a day, goes home to more work as there are family responsibilities, enjoys very little personal free time, and does not earn enough money to go on vacation. Person X might begin wondering if life is better as a single person because all visual evidence on social media suggests life is a vacation. This is only a hypothetical about whether social media causes divorce Florida.

This is a stark contrast presented in the hypothetical. Social media is generally not intended to portray babies pooping or regurgitating, or mom and dad having little time to shower and clean the house after work. Instead, social media is designed to highlight the good life, the life to be attained, the way things could be. Routinely, people photograph themselves at their best, dressed nicely, with great lighting, all to create a sort of image. That image is generally not one of a messy life full of chores and hard work. Let’s return to our hypothetical.

Lake County Florida Family Law Attorney: Social Media and Divorce Florida

In our hypothetical, Person X becomes interested in browsing social media where he/she sees people living it up. Meanwhile, Person Y is comfortable reading a book, or watching Netflix or Hulu or Amazon, and is happy just trying to relax between work and the kids. This could potentially cause a rift. Social media presents certain “social” opportunities that might be the opposite of relationship-building and might be just the exact opposite. If you are going through a breakup, call the Jacobs Law Firm Orlando and Clermont, Lake County Florida Family Law Attorney. If social media and divorce Florida have impacted you and your family, call today to discuss your legal case. Or e-mail us for a free initial consultation.

What about Florida alimony? Domestic violence injunctions? Read our Florida Law Blog to learn more.

orlando domestic violence attorney

Orlando Domestic Violence Attorney

Consider calling an Orlando domestic violence attorney immediately at 407-335-8113. You are the Petitioner that wants the court to grant your injunction against the Respondent, or you are the Respondent that must answer the domestic violence allegations raised against you. If you are the Petitioner, you have accused someone of stalking, or dating violence, intimidation, or other forms of domestic violence. You want to be protected immediately. As the Respondent, you have been accused of some form of domestic violence or abuse and want to defend yourself against having an injunction issued against you. There are many potential consequences to having the court grant an injunction against you. Let the seriousness of a domestic violence accusation sink in and consider calling a domestic violence lawyer Tavares FL right away to represent you at your domestic violence injunction hearing Florida.

Are ready to hear about the reality of the situation? As a Respondent, your first thoughts will likely be those of a rewind artist (playing back the alleged incident(s) in your mind for clarity and verification of your innocence or guilt). Then, once any panic has set in, you might ask yourself, “how did I get myself into this situation?” Life is MESSY. There is rarely any linearity, but there is plenty of zig-zagging.

Sometimes people find themselves in relationships that face hardships and struggles, or discussions that they should not have because the words spoken will likely lead to conflict. In those moments when hurtful words were spoken, adding a filter and an intellectual spin to those phrases and sentences was likely not factored into the equation. Both parties can be affected. Attorney Jonathan Jacobs is a domestic violence lawyer Orlando Florida, and a domestic violence lawyer Tavares FL.

Domestic Violence Injunction Hearing Florida

Domestic Violence Injunction Hearing Florida

Domestic Violence Lawyer Tavares FL

The Petitioner (the party that has alleged you, the respondent, has committed a form of domestic violence or will imminently do so) has filed for an injunction against you to prevent you from committing further acts of domestic violence (abbreviated as DV). During a domestic violence injunction hearing Florida, a judge will hear the case brought by the Petitioner against you. Both parties should attend the hearing at the courthouse, a public forum, where the Petitioner will contend that he/she is in danger, and the respondent will argue his/her innocence, and perhaps has filed his/her own petition for injunction against the original petitioner (called dueling injunctions).

Remember that charges and accusations work both ways, with both genders as the petitioner(s). Men accuse women, and women accuse men. How will the Respondent answer these charges and protect him/herself to the best of their ability against them? What are the Petitioner’s concerns? Will he/she receive the protection they have asked the court for? These are the questions you may ask your Orlando domestic violence attorney, and those that the Judge assigned to your case will hear during the domestic violence injunction hearing Florida.

Hire an Orlando Domestic Violence Attorney

Deciding whether to hire an Orlando domestic violence attorney to enforce and protect your rights is not just a financial decision, it is a decision based on all of the circumstances you are facing. Once you have hired an attorney, together you will prepare for the subsequent proceedings by thoroughly reviewing your facts, police report, and any other evidence that could be brought against you. Before the injunction hearing there may be time for depositions, and of course discovery requests may be propounded. This can help determine the validity and strength of the accusations, and for building a strategy for litigating at the hearing, which is usually scheduled to occur within 15 days.

Ultimately, during the hearing, both sides will argue before the Judge about whether an injunction is warranted under the circumstances. Based on Florida statutory law, the Judge will ask the parties if there is a threat of imminent danger. Also, is the domestic violence likely to recur, if it has occurred at all? This is a fact-specific inquiry. I liken this proceeding to a figure skating or boxing contest. Judges sit in different places and may often view the proceeding in a totally different way than the contestants do. It is all about perspective based on the evidence presented and allowed in pending any evidentiary objections propounded by the attorneys or litigants themselves. Consider if you need to hire an injunction attorney Orlando today.

Hire an Injunction Attorney To Help You Win Your Case

A domestic violence attorney can help you prepare evidence for the DV injunction hearing(s), as well as argue before the court on your behalf. An attorney can ask the probative questions of the other side that are necessary to bringing the facts to light. Essentially, if you hire an injunction attorney Tavares, may be significantly helpful to winning your case.

Two laws that will allow you some insight into the Florida Statutes often argued in domestic violence proceedings are Florida Statute 741.28 and 741.30(1)(a). Florida Statute 741.28 defines domestic violence as assault, battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, death, etc. Meanwhile, F.S. 741.30(1)(a) stresses that the Petitioner must prove that violence has occurred or that violence will imminently occur without the court’s timely intervention. As our Florida Law Blog explains, the Statute also offers the factors the court will consider in evaluating the legal strength of the Petitioner’s accusations. Attorney Jacobs is an Orlando domestic violence attorney, and a domestic violence lawyer Tavares FL that litigates these cases at a domestic violence injunction hearing Florida.

Equitable Distribution of Property in Florida

An important and recent family law decision regarding the equitable distribution of property in Florida that you need to be aware of comes from the case of Ramos v. Ramos, LEXIS 17847, (Fla. 4th DCA 2017)). In Ramos, the District Court of Appeals ruled that commingling may be proven by an appreciation of pre-marital assets. Commingling of marital assets in Florida, which creates marital property in the eyes of the court as concerns equitable distribution of property in Florida, may occur when pre-marital assets appreciate in value during the marriage, but does not occur when pre-marital assets depreciate significantly in value during the marriage. Stated simply, if one spouse owned property before getting married, and that property goes up substantially in value while they are married, the court may choose to consider the appreciated value as co-marital property subject to equitable distribution. Call a divorce attorney Orlando and divorce attorney Clermont FL today for the answers you need. The Jacobs Law Firm may be reached by calling 407-335-8113.

In Ramos, the Court explicitly determined that “Section 61.075(6)(a)(1)(b), Florida Statutes (2016), states that only the enhanced value of non-marital assets resulting from the efforts of either party during the marriage will become marital. Our case law is reflective of the Statute.” Basing its decision regarding commingling on another important 4th DCA case about the equitable distribution of property in Florida, Pereboom v. Pereboom, 959 So. 2d 1205, 1206 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007), the Court noted that the Husband proved he had owned and operated his business for a period of at least ten years prior to the beginning of his marriage. The Jacobs Law Firm, Family Lawyer Clermont FL, and a Family Lawyer Orlando, can litigate your case to help protect your assets.

Commingling of Marital Assets in Florida

Consequently, there was no commingling of marital assets in Florida as typically defined, and the Court needed to assess whether the business and its assets notably appreciated during the court of the marriage. Had the Husband’s business augmented in value, the Court might have ruled differently. This is why family law cases are fact-specific and one fact can change the entire outcome of the court’s ruling.

Commingling of Marital Assets in Florida

Instead, following the steps provided in the aforementioned Pereboom case, the burden shifted to Former Wife to prove to the court that the Husband’s premarital business had become marital property through an enhancement of its value. When the Former Wife could not make such a showing, the Court ruled the Husband’s business did not qualify as a marital asset subject to equitable distribution, and in fact, had not been commingled in any demonstrable way.  In this case, the Former Wife did not show that she had made substantial contributions to the business that would have caused it to be classified as martially commingled, or the commingling of marital assets Florida.

The Ramos case is important in Florida family law because it in a sense makes the burden harder on the party seeking the inclusion of a business to be counted as a marital asset subject to equitable distribution. Jonathan Jacobs is a Family Lawyer Clermont FL, and a Family Lawyer Orlando.

Attorney Jonathan Jacobs is happy to address your questions about Florida equitable distribution of property, child support, child custody, and alimony.

Learn more about alimony in Florida by reading some of our blog articles concerning Florida law: Durational alimony, women paying men alimony, alimony factors, short term alimony, permanent alimony, and rehabilitative alimony. Here on our website, we have a web page devoted to discussing and elucidating alimony in Florida. This marital dissolution process can be educational because of the number of life lessons a person can learn during the process, which can take a great deal of time!

What about child support health insurance? Divorce mediation? We let you know more information about those topics too. Attorney Jonathan Jacobs specializes in same sex divorce, relocation with minor child cases, as well as in other family law matters and civil litigation.

Breaking a Lease Due to Mold in Florida

Breaking a Lease Due to Mold in Florida

Breaking a lease due to mold in Florida: Can I Get Out of my Lease if There is Mold, is a question that many honest and decent renters/tenants frequently ask. It is likely a court will take notice that Florida is a warm state that furnishes a climate in which mold could become a problem if untreated by the landlord and/or the tenant. A reasonable (reasonable is perhaps the most outcome determinative word in the legal dictionary, and it has a different interpretation and application for almost every unique situation) landlord and a reasonable tenant, should take simple steps to prevent the outbreak of mold in their rental home(s) or apartment(s). Mold can be a basic maintenance issue. Most alarming is that according to the Center for Disease Control, “Exposure to mold can lead to asthma attacks, eye and skin irritation, and allergic reactions. It can lead to severe infections in people with weakened immune systems.” Whether you are the landlord or the tenant in a situation in which mold growth and exposure is a problem, you should take the situation seriously to prevent harm, and take all reasonable precautions against the spread of mold. Before Breaking a Lease Due to Black Mold in Florida, ask a mold attorney in Florida and mold attorney in Orlando Florida, if your situation warrants legal action.

Breaking a Lease Due to Black Mold in Florida

To best address the central question posed, of whether there is legal justification for breaking a lease due to black mold in Florida, it is important for your mold attorney to examine the lease agreement before breaking a lease due to black mold. When a landlord is aware of prior mold issues, they may include mold addendums in their lease agreement contracts to protect themselves from being sued. Landlords may seek to hold tenants responsible for the growth of mold, sometimes fairly, and sometimes unfairly. For example, some tenants will follow their contract(s) to the letter of the law and take every reasonable precaution to ensure the mold-free habitability of their rental home, but are unable or unwilling to spend their own money to prevent its spread. Meanwhile, some landlords will ignore or neglect any water damages issues, corroded water seals, or telltale signs of mold infestation even if they are made aware of the situation because they regard it as a tenant’s failure to maintain the premises.

Both sides could be at fault, particularly if a tenant fails to notify a landlord of any mold-related conditions within the premises, and the landlord has no reason to suspect the growth of mold. Ultimately, if informed and aware of the situation, a reasonable landlord should consider mold remediation when appropriate, and a reasonable tenant should take precautionary measures to prevent the growth or subsequent spread of mold and avoid any situations that could trigger a lawsuit. Breaking a lease due to black mold is by no means a guarantee, and whether a landlord or the court will allow you to do this is a question of fact.

Can I Get Out of my Lease if There is Mold? Constructive Eviction

Generally, there are two primary remedies available to a tenant when his/her rental home has been invaded by mold. First, let’s assume that a tenant has found mold, notified the landlord of the mold, possibly suffered medical symptoms from mold exposure, and has been forced to move out due to the mold. In such a circumstance, one legal remedy is for the tenant to withhold rent for the amount of time they have been “constructively evicted” because all or pat of a residence is uninhabitable. Constructive eviction occurs when a landlord has failed to maintain the premises in such a manner as to render the home uninhabitable.

Uninhabitability of a home may occur with the spreading of certain types of mold. Further, if the landlord has been given appropriate notice, and has not taken reasonable action to remedy the problem, the renter may wish to consider hiring his/her own licensed mold remediator to clean up the premises. The mold remediation fee, if reasonable, can be, in some circumstances, subtracted from the rent owed to the landlord. In other cases, if a landlord remediates the issue, a tenant may be required to pay the rent amount for the time they were out of the residence. The original question of can I get out of my lease if there is mold, is now one of choice of proper remedies for each unique situation. Breaking a lease due to black mold in Florida is not necessarily the first option a tenant should consider.

The second major remedy when there is a mold issue, is to terminate the lease if the mold problem is “significant.” In order to seek to terminate a lease agreement on account of mold, a tenant generally must provide a landlord with reasonable notice (20 or more days is the general statutory provision unless a residential lease contract specifies the proper number of days) to allow the landlord to remedy the situation. The difficulty a tenant may face is that testing for mold may take time, and mold remediation may take more than a week to fully perform. During that time the renter may be without their furniture, clothing, groceries, toiletries, and/or a place to stay. In some cases, if the landlord neglects to clean up the premises despite more than adequate notice, the tenant is considered to be constructively evicted. If you would like more information please contact a mold attorney in Orlando Florida.

Mold Attorney in Florida, Mold Attorney in Orlando Florida

Back to the central question, whether you should consider breaking your lease due to mold in Florida. The answer is maybe. The terminability of a residential lease and breaking a lease due to black mold depend on factors such as: the wording of the lease agreement, whether the tenant or the landlord has taken reasonable steps to prevent or eliminate the problem, whether the tenant has suffered health problems because of the mold, and if reasonable notice has been given by the tenant to the landlord. If you are a landlord or a tenant who needs to speak with a lawyer about the mold situation in a residence, please contact a mold attorney in Florida, mold attorney in Orlando Florida, for a consultation to discuss your legal rights and responsibilities.

Click here to see the Environmental Protection Agency’s A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, And Your Home. For information on unlawful detainer in Florida, call us today. Enjoy our entire law website. A mold attorney in Orlando Florida, and a mold attorney in Florida can tell you that breaking a lease due to black mold in Florida may result in a small claims lawsuit or perhaps in a more significant lawsuit for damages over $8,000. Civil litigation arises often and you should be ready. 

***This article is for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice of any kind.

Mold Attorney in Florida

Landlord Tenant Lawyer in Orlando

Landlord Tenant Lawyer in Orlando

Call a landlord tenant lawyer in Orlando or a landlord tenant lawyer in Clermont FL today at 407-335-8113. Landlord tenant law is an area of law that involves a great deal of controversy and bitterness between the litigants. Let’s analyze the perspectives of both parties, the landlord and the tenant, in order to gain a deeper understanding of some of the issues involved in a housing dispute.  Included is a hypothetical landlord-tenant scenario to create a framework for this discussion of what the parties often fight about in these situations. If you need help with your lease, your eviction case, or any kind of a landlord-tenant legal issue, contact Attorney Jonathan Jacobs who is a landlord tenant lawyer in Orlando, and a landlord tenant lawyer in Clermont FL. Contact us today for your free consultation!

Hypothetical Landlord Tenant Dispute: Plaintiff/Landlord v. Defendant/Tenant

By way of hypothetical example, a landlord sues a tenant. First, we will present the hypothetical landlord’s point of view. As an law firm, we seek to understand both sides of the argument to help our clients win their cases. In this hypo, the landlord wants to sell his condominium because the value has gone up significantly in a short period of time. In his mind, the tenant has been nothing but a complainer, and too much trouble to be worth renting their home to. The landlord tells her landlord tenant lawyer in Orlando that her tenant has shown little appreciation for the maintenance of the property, and regardless, his/her lease will not be renewed the coming year. Knowing this information, why not try to compel the tenant to leave voluntarily, or at least plan for the next tenant or next step with/for the home?

From the landlord’s viewpoint, the tenant has become at best a minor nuisance, at worst a tenant with whom they cannot reason with. The tenant has text messaged and called dozens of times to demand repairs for the A/C, a leaky faucet, an electrical outlet that does not work properly, a door has become unhinged, etc. The list could go on ranging from serious repair problems to more ordinary household wear and tear (reasonable daily maintenance). Perhaps these are perfectly reasonable issues that need to be addressed to ensure the habitability of the residence and the comfort of the renters. Then again, the landlord might not believe that those repairs are his/her responsibility. This is why reading, reviewing, and understanding your renter’s contract is of the utmost importance.

There are frequently differing opinions as to the meaning of a lease agreement/contract. Ultimately, the landlord prefers that the tenant move out immediately. This may involve the landlord filing for eviction. Eviction can be done if the renter fails to pay rent in a timely manner, if the renter has damaged the property in a significant manner, or if the renter has refused the landlord access to repair serious damage to the property. Whether there is legitimate cause for such a lawsuit and verdict of eviction, is another matter entirely. Eviction is a fact specific issue. Call a landlord tenant lawyer in Orlando or a landlord tenant lawyer in Clermont FL to learn whether you have a viable case that can be brought to the court’s attention with the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Landlord Tenant Lawyer in Orlando: Tenant’s Point of View

In our hypothetical landlord-tenant dispute, let’s shed some light on the tenant/renter’s point of view. The tenant tells his landlord tenant lawyer in Orlando he has felt ignored and neglected by the landlord. He/she has brought to the landlord’s attention the fact that a licensed handyman, or a plumber, or some other qualified repair person needs to come fix several areas in/of the residence. The tenant has a sense of urgency about the completion of the repairs because he/she lives there with young children. The tenant wants to ensure their comfort and safety, but their inability to get the landlord to pay attention to their very real problems may cause a feeling of helplessness. Perhaps, because of the landlord’s inattentiveness, this renter believes they do not owe the full amount of the rent until repairs are made. This renter withholds rent and continues to send messages requesting that certain things be fixed. Tensions build with unpaid rent, unfixed areas of the residence, and varying interpretations of who is to blame. This is when the parties may seek to hire a landlord tenant lawyer in Orlando.

Civil litigation often involves a lot of money that you may be liable for or are trying to collect from someone. The best practice with the likeliest outcome of success is to hire an attorney who is trained to help you recover or defend against someone seeking to dispossess you of your home and your money.

Landlord Tenant Lawyer in Clermont FL

In another article, concerning mold exposure in a Florida apartment residence, I will explore the potential remedies both parties may have in their pursuit of meeting their demands and ensuring the health and welfare of the occupant(s). The best outcome is when landlords and tenants recognize there either is an issue, or an issue could develop if the parties remain at loggerheads, and consequently the parties work out their differences amicably. Both parties likely will need an attorney to present their arguments and to act as the voices of reason. Have you ever heard of an unlawful detainer lawsuit?

For more information please see Florida law Chapter 83 which governs landlord-tenant lawsuits. A landlord tenant lawyer can clarify any hard-to-understand provisions for you. Visit our Eviction homepage or our Landlord-Tenant homepage for more information. Landlord tenant disputes often arise in small claims court. We offer a small claims lawyer in Orlando, and a landlord tenant lawyer in Clermont FL should you want us there by your side.