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Samuel-II, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27011
Experience:  real estate law
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I have a 1 year lease agreement on a single family home. One

Customer Question

I have a 1 year lease agreement on a single family home. One of the AC units is 16 years old and landlord sent 2 seperate AC company's that state unit is working fine but it will not cool below 81 degrees during 1pm to 9pm when it's more then 86 outside. My contract says I'm responsible for repairs of major appliances up to $85 per occurrence and nothing out of my pocket if a major appliance fails under normal wear and tear. My landlord does not know I had it checked by a licensed AC tech and company that told me the condenser coils are bad and the unit is unable to handle the heat load as a result of being old. I don't want to move or withhold rent but I want her to be forced to make the repair and or replacement
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.


This is Samuel. I am sorry to hear of this situation. Please give me a few minutes to fully review your situation and I will respond here. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok. Thank you!
Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

Air conditioning maintenance is not cut and dry. It is not considered a Necessity but rather it is considered an amenity. However, the Florida law does require that the LL maintain the rental in a manner that is habitable. And so if you can show that the air conditioning needs repair because it is becoming a health issue for you since the area gets hot, etc you could try to negotiate with the LL to at least split the cost of the repairs to make it function at its best.
The problem is you signed the lease wherein you agreed to pay for the service and repairs. But I suggest you could argue that while you would be willing to do a little maintenance on the unit, the repairs that are necessary so you can live in good health and to keep the rental habitable are just too expensive for you.

Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

You can try talking to the LL and explaining what you were told and see if they will split the cost of the repairs, maybe hold back on rent for month or two. Whatever agreement you come to, be sure to get it in writing.

Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

You can read the Florida statutes on this matter at this link and it states the following:

83.51 Landlord’s obligation to maintain premises.—

(1) The landlord at all times during the tenancy shall:

(a) Comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing, and health codes; or

(b) Where there are no applicable building, housing, or health codes, maintain the roofs, windows, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations, and all other structural components in good repair and capable of resisting normal forces and loads and the plumbing in reasonable working condition. The landlord, at commencement of the tenancy, must ensure that screens are installed in a reasonable condition. Thereafter, the landlord must repair damage to screens once annually, when necessary, until termination of the rental agreement.

The landlord is not required to maintain a mobile home or other structure owned by the tenant. The landlord’s obligations under this subsection may be altered or modified in writing with respect to a single-family home or duplex.

(2)(a) Unless otherwise agreed in writing, in addition to the requirements of subsection (1), the landlord of a dwelling unit other than a single-family home or duplex shall, at all times during the tenancy, make reasonable provisions for:

1. The extermination of rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs. When vacation of the premises is required for such extermination, the landlord is not liable for damages but shall abate the rent. The tenant must temporarily vacate the premises for a period of time not to exceed 4 days, on 7 days’ written notice, if necessary, for extermination pursuant to this subparagraph.

2. Locks and keys.

3. The clean and safe condition of common areas.

4. Garbage removal and outside receptacles therefor.

5. Functioning facilities for heat during winter, running water, and hot water.

(b) Unless otherwise agreed in writing, at the commencement of the tenancy of a single-family home or duplex, the landlord shall install working smoke detection devices. As used in this paragraph, the term “smoke detection device” means an electrical or battery-operated device which detects visible or invisible particles of combustion and which is listed by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., Factory Mutual Laboratories, Inc., or any other nationally recognized testing laboratory using nationally accepted testing standards.

(c) Nothing in this part authorizes the tenant to raise a noncompliance by the landlord with this subsection as a defense to an action for possession under s. 83.59.

(d) This subsection shall not apply to a mobile home owned by a tenant.

(e) Nothing contained in this subsection prohibits the landlord from providing in the rental agreement that the tenant is obligated to pay costs or charges for garbage removal, water, fuel, or utilities.

(3) If the duty imposed by subsection (1) is the same or greater than any duty imposed by subsection (2), the landlord’s duty is determined by subsection (1).

(4) The landlord is not responsible to the tenant under this section for conditions created or caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant’s family, or other person on the premises with the tenant’s consent.

Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

So you do have a contract in your lease and where you agree to be responsible for the AC Unit. But while the law does not require a LL to provide AC, the unit should be livable and not affect the health of the tenant.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Right but if the contract say she will repair or replace a major appliance and does not is she not in breach?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok. Thanks!
Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

You could argue it is a major appliance because it was there when you began renting and like a refrigerator it is a major appliance.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I know landlords don't have to give you AC in Florida even its in the house. But the contract states repairs of major appliances need to repaired or replaced I'm only responsible for the up to $85 if repair is needed of anything
Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

But here's the thing. The maintenance of AC is not a part of Rental or Landlord law. This falls under Contract law and your lease is the contract wherein you agree to accept the responsibility.

Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

And I understand what you are saying about major appliances - but that would be a stove, refrigerator, etc. It is not an AC unit, unfortunately. And even if it was it is now exempt from the LL liability and responsibilities because you agreed to maintain it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It says failure of any major appliance is to be born by landlord
Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

So it has been pulled out of the large appliance category and given its own - The Air Conditioning Unit. Still AC is not a large appliance. I suggest you consider talking to the LL and telling them that it is really creating a health problem and making it difficult for you to breath or whatever and that you would like to share the cost of the repair.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Oh ok well thanks for the insight
Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

But you can certainly try to sell it to the LL that it is. However, even if it was it was made exempt because there is a specific provision that you will maintain and repair the AC - it gives not matter as if it is a major appliance. You agreed to maintain in.

Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

And because you agreed to the provision in your lease, contract you are bound. I also want you to NOTE that all leases are going to be the same where the Tenant cares for the AC unit.

Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

So this is not just you. It is how the Contract law works. I wish it was better news. Maybe consider working it out with the LL as I suggested previously. I wish it was better news for you.

Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

If there is no provision where it specifically states you bear all costs of AC repairs, then you can argue it is major appliance, you cannot live without it as it creates a health issue making the rental Uninhabitable and your share should be up to $85 and tell the LL to get it fixed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok. Yes it says I'm responsible for maintaining AC filters lawn care and sprinklers that's it
Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

Thank you

Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

Then I suggest you tell your LL that you had the AC Unit looked at and it needs new coils.

Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

Tell the LL that it is simply unbearable to live there. And see what the LL has to say about getting it repaired.

Expert:  Samuel-II replied 1 year ago.

Also, if you pay the utilities tell the LL that the bad unit is making your utility cost soar, too. And it would be economical and more cost effective all the way around for it to be repaired or replaced.