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RealEstateAnswer
RealEstateAnswer, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 16224
Experience:  7+ years in handling Leases, Landlord-Tenant, Foreclosures,Mortgages, and Eviction cases
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I rent a condo from an individual landlord. He was informed

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I rent a condo from an individual landlord. He was informed by the community that he needed to replace the plumbing in his unit more than a year ago. He did not do so. Two days ago, the hose on my hot water heater burst because of the pressure from the clogged (rusty) pipe above it and flooded my whole condo and the two units below mine.

He was told again he needed to replace all of the plumbing and doesn't seem like he plans to do it. That one pipe was replaced, but now I have a new leak in the next pipe in the line. My carpet is growing mold even though I had the water sucked up and there are blowers in the room running 24/7.

I'm only a few months into my current lease and really don't want to have to move elsewhere, but I do need a condo with hot and cold running water, pipes that don't leak, and a carpet that does not have mold growing in it. I need to know what my rights as a tenant are. Can I move to a hotel and deduct from rent until problems are fixed? Can I take legal action that won't cost me a fortune?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 11 months ago.
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Good afternoon. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. Based upon the facts which you stated above, the landlord has a legal obligation to make the necessary repairs. Your right to withhold rent, depends on if the subject property is wholly untenantable. If so, then you can take the necessary steps pursuant to the statute below and withhold rent. There does need be hot and cold running water, along with it being free of mold, which can lead to health problems. As such, there could be a legal basis to withhold the rent. Another option is to speak with the landlord and see if he will allow you to make the repairs yourself and deduct it from the rent. If he refuses to take any action, then he can be in breach of the lease agreement and you could vacate, going after him for damages suffered.

83.201 Notice to landlord of failure to maintain or repair, rendering premises wholly untenantable; right to withhold rent.—When the lease is silent on the procedure to be followed to effect repair or maintenance and the payment of rent relating thereto, yet affirmatively and expressly places the obligation for same upon the landlord, and the landlord has failed or refused to do so, rendering the leased premises wholly untenantable, the tenant may withhold rent after notice to the landlord. The tenant shall serve the landlord, in the manner prescribed by s. 83.20(3), with a written notice declaring the premises to be wholly untenantable, giving the landlord at least 20 days to make the specifically described repair or maintenance, and stating that the tenant will withhold the rent for the next rental period and thereafter until the repair or maintenance has been performed. The lease may provide for a longer period of time for repair or maintenance. Once the landlord has completed the repair or maintenance, the tenant shall pay the landlord the amounts of rent withheld. If the landlord does not complete the repair or maintenance in the allotted time, the parties may extend the time by written agreement or the tenant may abandon the premises, retain the amounts of rent withheld, terminate the lease, and avoid any liability for future rent or charges under the lease. This section is cumulative to other existing remedies, and this section does not prevent any tenant from exercising his or her other remedies.

Please let me know if you have any follow up questions or need any clarification on something which I stated above. Also, remember to rate my service before exiting the site, so I can receive credit for my help. I hope you found it to be Excellent! Only rate my answer when you are 100% satisfied. If you feel the need to click either of the two lower ratings to the left, please stop and reply to me. I want to make sure your experience with the site was as pleasurable as possible and that you are satisfied with the help I provided.
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 11 months ago.
I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for your prompt reply and sorry for the delay on my end. I was dealing with plumbers, landlords, and carpet cleaners all day again yesterday.


 


So I understand I can withhold rent after providing him the proper notification, but what do you do in situations when the problem occurs within 7 days of your rent being due? This is the second time this situation has arisen for me. I cannot withhold this month's rent because there is not enough time to give notice right?


 


Are the laws regarding mold any different than the statutes you already shared with me? I have a severe allergy to mold (have allergy testing results and am undergoing immunotherapy for a variety of allergies). I cannot live with a moldy bedroom for 20 days, which is the amount of time I have to allow him according to the statute you sent. Is this correct?

Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 11 months ago.
The ability to withhold rent is when you can not actually live there because of the conditions. If your landlord will not fix a condition which is in "material non-compliance" with the your local city or county property maintenance code, you may stop paying rent (rent withholding). Material non-compliance means that there are major problems in your house or apartment which your landlord refuses to fix. If the mold is effecting you and your allergies, then you may want to consider vacating, if the landlord will not correct the problem within 7 days, pursuant to the statute. Here is a link with a form you can use, if you decide to take that route.

http://www.franklinclerk.com/_docs/County%20Civil_Small%20Claims_Evictions/tenant_seven_day_notice_to_landlord.pdf
RealEstateAnswer, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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