Cana tenantsue their landlord for unhealthy/unlivable living conditions?

We are tenants who live in FL and have been without air conditioning for 2 months. Also, there is large amounts of mold/ wall decay in unit. We did not pay rent this month because they are refusing to put money into the unit because it is foreclosed on. They have just served us a 3-day notice and I wanted to know what my rights are in this specific situation. The lease has expired.

Asked on September 1, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) All leases have added to them the "implied warranty of habitability," which means that the premises is warranted to be inhabitable and fit for its intended purpose (e.g. residence). Issues that affect not just comfort but actual health or ability to use the premises violate thatis warranty and give rise to a cause of action--that is, you can sue for compensation.

2) Unfortunately, not pyaing your rent, even when you have a claim against the landlord, may be a violation of the lease (whether oral or written) and entitle the landlord to evict you. You can raise  the lack of habitability as a defense to eviction, but if the court does not agree that habitability is significantly compromised, it may not work as a defense. You are probably better off, if you want to stay, paying the rent then suing the landlord for compensation for living with habitability violations.

3) If the lease has expired and you are holding over, you'd be holding over on a month to month basis: either you or the landlord can terminate the tenancy on 30 days notice.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.