Legal Basis for Damages. A Florida Tenant does have the right to withhold rent from their Landlord or terminate the lease if the Landlord refuses to remove the mold. Due to the warm and humid climate in South Florida, it is common for tenants to have roof leaks, air conditioning leaks and pipe bursts all of which introduces water into the property. Thousands of lawsuits over mold infestation in residential buildings and apartments are filed and litigated every year. Please reference the Terms of Use and the Supplemental Terms for specific information related to your state. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. § § 83.49). Courts have recognized two common legal self-help strategies that some tenants... Landlord Liability for Mold in Florida. If a tenant gets sick because of exposure to mold, the landlord could be responsible for any damages. What you can do is take steps to prevent and eliminate mold if those nasty little spores start appearing in your rental property.. There also may be a written lease that could affect a tenant’s rights. However, should a tenant discover mold within the home after the fact, it then becomes the landlord’s legal responsibility to assess and solve the issue, including payment for the removal of all contaminants. Consider requiring a mold inspection in the lease: Requiring the tenant to pay for a mold inspection by a certified "industrial hygienist" could protect you from claims that you knowingly rented an "uninhabitable" (because of mold) housing unit. PART 4: Finding Information About the State and Local Laws News Tenant Exposed to Toxic Mold Gets $250,000 Settlement A tenant's lawsuit claimed he was sickened when an improperly repaired water leak allowed mold … Florida law allows landlords to do this, provided they give the tenant a required notice with written explanation of the mold damage costs (along with any other claimed damages) within 30 days of the tenant's lease termination. In Florida, the landlord is responsible for taking reasonable steps to keep the property mold free, and for removing mold once he becomes aware of its presence. For more advice on this, see Mold and Your Rental Property: A Landlord's Prevention and Liability Guide, by Ron Leshnower (Nolo). A tenant has certain rights and responsibilities under Florida law. *Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF). Just like any other damage beyond ordinary wear and tear, you must notify your tenant of the mold damage costs within thirty days after they move out. If you own or manage a rental property in Florida, a mold problem could present you with costly cleanup and repair bills as well as lawsuits from tenants claiming that the mold made them ill. Read on to learn about landlord responsibilities and tenant rights in Florida when it comes to mold in rental properties. While this is warranted in certain situations, many times some mold is okay or … Florida Landlord Tenant Law is set forth in Florida Statutes at Part II, Chapter 83, Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act. Otherwise, the tenant may have a right to file a personal injury suit against their landlord to recover financial compensation for the illness, disease, or health complications caused by mold. ​Read More:​ Rights of Tenants Without a Lease in Florida. This part describes three main types of state and local laws that might address IAQ in rental homes: housing codes, landlord-tenant laws, and laws on specific issues (such as smoking). The first, known as "rent withholding," is when tenants decide to stop paying rent, claiming the mold has made their apartment unpinhabitable. Florida has two basic sets of laws relating to the presence of mold in a Florida dwelling. The second strategy, known as "repair and deduct," involves tenants taking care of mold cleanup on their own and then subtracting the cost from their rent. The basics of toxic black mold Mold has a bad reputation. If your landlord claims your response was not prompt, even if the message was delivered ASAP, or if you’ve gotten sick from mold … Sackrin and Tolchinsky Attorneys: Mold Claims by a Florida Tenant: Can You Sue the Landlord When Mold Is Found in a Leased Home, Apartment, Office, or Condo? The city reportedly fined the landlord $15,000 per day for 31 violations of its health and safety code. Retaliation. A top environmental hazard, mold thrives in warm, damp places, and often grows quickly in basements, attics, and other parts of buildings with poor ventilation and humidity problems. Copyright © 2020 MH Sub I, LLC dba Nolo ® Self-help services may not be permitted in all states. This means that you will be able to deduct the cleaning costs from their security deposit when they move out. The federal government has no nationwide standard for mold in residential or commercial properties, and most state and city governments also do not address mold issues directly. Florida tenants should know their rights and legal obligations before speaking with landlords, as this can save time and unnecessary aggravation on both sides. What Are a Tenant’s Rights in Florida? These symptoms have no scientifically proven connection to mold as of yet, and a tenant probably would not be able to win a lawsuit based on a complaint with no scientific backing. Indoor Mold and Your Health. Mold has been blamed for a number of chronic health conditions including asthma, rashes, nausea and even cognitive issues. If a judge or jury agrees that the landlord negligently created a mold problem or allowed one to continue at a property, the landlord could be on the hook for any harm. Federal law doesn't require you to disclose a problem with mold in the property to potential renters, but some states do, including California and New York. The following information will help you understand your rights and legal options when you have been injured by black mold in an apartment or other rental unit. If the tenant doesn't object (within 15 days), then you must return the remainder of the deposit to the tenant within 30 days of the date of your written explanation (Fla. Stat. Aside from any affirmative disclosure requirement, however, if you decide to list a property for sale, you should be ready with responses to questions potential buyers might ask about plumbing, humidity, and ventilation issues in your building. Not all of these conditions have been conclusively linked to mold in scientific studies, and the question of how dangerous mold really is has not been scientifically resolved. Tenants and landlords share responsibility for controlling mold to ensure healthy living conditions. ​Read More:​ Rights of Florida Tenants Who Are Not on the Lease. SPECIAL NOTE: If you have questions about licensure of mold assessors or mold remediators in Florida, please review this Florida law.The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is responsible for licensing mold assessors and remediators. Florida Mold law for Renters were created to protect tenants from living in uninhabitable conditions. A tenant residing in Florida has certain legal rights when the landlord fails to maintain the premises. Under Florida landlord-tenant laws, mold resulting from a tenant’s carelessness qualifies as excessive property damage. Tenants Rights About Mold in an Apartment in Florida Dangers of Mold. The written notice shall also indicate the tenant’s intention to terminate the rental agreement due to this noncompliance. In some states, the information on this website may be considered a lawyer referral service. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development | 451 7th Street S.W., Washington, DC 20410 Telephone: (202) 708-1112 TTY: (202) 708-1455 You have these rights even if you don't have a written lease, and even if you signed an agreement saying you would give up your rights. Breaking a lease due to black mold in Florida is not necessarily the first option a tenant should consider. First, are the general protections provided under Florida’s landlord-tenant statutes which are contained in Chapter 83, Part II, Florida Statutes. Once water breaches the inside of the property and it is not immediately dried out and left untreated, it can result in the growth of toxic black mold. The laws around mold vary from state to state, so if you feel your apartment is uninhabitable due to mold, be sure to check your state laws or ask a lawyer for advice. The second major remedy when there is a mold issue, is to terminate the lease if the mold problem is “significant.” The 2016 Florida Statutes: Landlord and Tenant, Legal Beagle: Rights of Florida Tenants Who Are Not on the Lease, Legal Beagle: Rights of Tenants Without a Lease in Florida, Legal Beagle: Reporting Slumlords and Other Landlords, Legal Beagle: Types of Damages Recoverable in a Lawsuit. Most toxic mold lawsuits against building owners and landlords are settled before trial, but those filed against homeowner's insurance providers typically are resolved at trial. The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site. Toxic mold lawsuits are particularly complicated, as they often involve multiple causes of action, can implicate a wide range of potential defendants, and require specific medical and scientific expertise. The liability picture changes when mold grows as the result of your own behavior, such as keeping the apartment tightly shut, creating high humidity, or failing to maintain necessary cleanliness. If the tenant discovers the mold problem before the landlord does, the tenant is responsible for telling the landlord about the problem promptly. (Note that regardless of what may appear in a written lease with tenants, landlords in Florida are bound by the “implied warranty of habitability,” a legal doctrine that requires providing tenants with apartments in livable condition.) If a tenant gets sick because of exposure to mold, the landlord could be responsible for any damages. Your use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use, Supplemental Terms, Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. These are specified in the Florida Statutes at Part II, Chapter 83, the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act. It also describes federal laws that prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of disability. To learn more about landlord disclosure requirements in Florida, check out Florida Required Landlord Disclosures. If you have reason to believe your rental is contaminated with toxic black mold, and it has caused health problems, suing your landlord for black mold is one way to get compensated. If you have any questions, please reach out to us on our contact us page. If you are Tenant that has discovered mold, it is important that that follow Florida Statute. Every landlord should take mold seriously. Official Florida Mold Laws for Renters. Specific landlord and tenant responsibilities, including apartment maintenance and pest control, are listed in the lease and governed by Florida law (Chapter 83, Part II, Florida Statutes). All renters have legal rights. A tenant’s rights in Florida include the right to seek out housing and enter into lease agreements without facing discrimination from landlords. Also, while federal law requires disclosures about lead paint, it doesn't impose a similar duty on landlords when it comes to mold. The landlord also should inspect the property for mold often, because he can be held liable if the mold has been present for a long time even if he didn't know about it. Tenant Options. A landlord MAY NOT evict you solely in retaliation for the tenant complaining to a governmental agency about code violations or asserting other tenant rights. A persistent mold problem constitutes a hazardous condition. Responsibility to disclose. The attorney listings on this site are paid attorney advertising. Some have reported other symptoms such as headaches, nosebleeds and memory loss. Mold: You hope you don’t have it, you can’t always see it, but you can’t ignore it. Also, Florida doesn’t have any laws that specifically address a landlord’s duties or liability when it comes to mold prevention and remediation. Courts have recognized two common legal self-help strategies that some tenants choose to pursue following a mold outbreak in their apartment or rental home. A landlord can potentially be held liable for the tenant's moving expenses and any mold damage to the tenant's possessions, as well as damages from illness. If the tenant doesn't tell the landlord about the issue right away, the landlord can use that as a defense in court, and the tenant may have a harder time collecting damages. If there is no written lease, these laws regulate the tenant’s rights. Exposure to mold can make a person feel sick, with symptoms such as congestion, coughing, rashes and irritated eyes and sinuses. People with asthma or allergies have reported severe reactions to mold exposure, and people with immune system problems may be exposed to infections through contact with mold. If mold is discovered, the landlord is responsible for removing it from the property. Non-Payment of Rent Section 83.56(3), F.S. Tenants have some duties to maintain their rental unit , so when a tenant's own negligence is the sole cause of injury, the landlord is not liable. Because so much is at stake, it's important to try to prevent a mold problem from growing in your rental property in the first place, as well as take prompt, effective action to remove excess mold that you discover. When discovering mold in apartments tenants rights in Florida dictate that the landlord is responsible for remediating the problem. This responsibility derives from Florida statutes such as Section 83.51 that require landlords to maintain their properties in good repair, and case law such as Katz Deli v. Waterways Pizza, which awarded damages to a plaintiff whose business had been damaged by a mold infestation. For example, a local news channel investigation uncovered tenants at an Orlando, Florida, apartment complex living with serious mold, leaks, and flooding issues, as well as damaged electrical outlets that posed a fire hazard. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenant can withhold rent or move into a temporary housing paid for by the landlord . Although mold is often associated with buildings in wet climates, no rental property is immune from a mold outbreak, as one can occur following an unattended spill, faulty plumbing, or even a misdirected lawn sprinkler. Retaliation against tenants for requesting repairs that affect habitability is illegal under Florida law . If the presence of mold affects the livability of the apartment and the health and safety of the tenants, the landlord is in violation of this warranty and the tenant should move out. In Florida, there’s a particularly common issue that causes legal disputes between landlords and tenants year after year, particularly when the weather heats up. A tenant in federally subsidized rental housing has rights under federal law, as well. However, landlords in Florida still are responsible for keeping their properties free of mold. These specific set of Florida mold laws deals with how landlords and tenants work through issues pertaining to mold infestations and mold removal when mold is discovered on a leased property. However, tenants who believe they have been harmed by the presence of high concentrations of mold in their apartment can try to recover damages from their landlord in court to compensate them for their loss. Learn about landlord/tenant law and tenants' rights in CT. If you believe a departing tenant caused a mold problem (beyond ordinary wear and tear) in an apartment or rental unit, you may wish to deduct the cost of cleaning from that tenant's security deposit. For more information about security deposits in Florida, check out Florida Security Deposit Limits and Deadlines. Mold grows in moist places, so if the landlord keeps the property air-conditioned and dry then it shouldn't be able to grow. Mold tends to worsen when left unaddressed, and it's your property that's at stake. Pursuant to Florida Statutes a Tenant must give the Landlord a seven (7) day notice to cure stating that they intend to either withhold rent or terminate the lease if the mold is not removed. Learn more about your rights and obligations as a tenant or landlord in West Palm Beach or elsewhere in Florida by contacting Pike & Lustig, LLP. This article was written by Legal Beagle staff. Landlords should not to try to remove the mold themselves, because only a certified specialist in mold remediation can be sure of removing the problem completely and fulfilling the landlord's legal responsibilities. However, tenants suffering from respiratory problems because of exposure to mold may have a strong case against their landlord under Florida law. The landlord must serve you, the tenant, a written notice allowing three days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) for you to pay It governs the rights of both landlords and tenants. Ann. Florida Rules Regarding Mold in Rental Properties Tenant Self-Help Strategies in Florida. Discuss the situation with your landlord and ask if it’s possible to be relocated until the mold issue is resolved. Landlords are under no obligation to have their rental properties tested for mold contamination before allowing a tenant to move-in. There is currently no federal law covering a landlord's responsibilities when it comes to mold. Basically, the Florida Mold laws are usually interpreted as either the landlord has to properly remove the toxic mold as to bring the rental unit back into a safe and habitable dwelling, or the tenant can have it completed by professionals and the landlord foots the bill. A tenant must notify the landlord, in writing, by hand delivery or mail, of noncompliance with Florida law or the requirements of the rental agreement. Florida Landlord Tenant Law. Rights of Florida Tenants Who Are Not on the Lease, Florida Statutes for Eviction of Disabled People, Rights of Tenants Without a Lease in Florida, Nolo: Mold in Rentals: Landlord Liability, Responsibility, and Prevention, Florida Department of Health: Mold and Moisture. Renters expect landlords to provide homes free of … Florida tenants also have the right to any interest earned on the security deposit when their landlord maintains their deposit in an interest-earning bank account. Florida’s Tenant Protection Law. Do Not Sell My Personal Information, federal law requires disclosures about lead paint, Florida Security Deposit Limits and Deadlines. Florida doesn't have any statutes or regulations that require landlords to disclose high concentrations of mold in rental properties to prospective tenants or buyers. See Florida Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent for more information about these strategies, including their limitations. 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