Can I break my lease if there is extensive flood damage next to the A/C unit and surrounding areas.

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Can I break my lease if there is extensive flood damage next to the A/C unit and surrounding areas.

I moved into my apartment early. I signed a special lease addendum agreeing to move into the apartment *as is*. I understood that I would probably need to do some heavy cleaning, but didn’t anticipate there would be extensive flood damage throughout the kitchen and bathroom. I believe it was caused by a neglected leaking A/C unit that caused the floor to warp and sink about an inch lower than the rest of the floor. I’m trying to figure out if this is sufficient enough to break my lease, or figure out if this violates any state property code.

Asked on August 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the damage renders the premises actually unsafe or unhealthy to live in, then you may have grounds to terminate the lease if the landlord does not remedy the situation after notice  (preferrably written) and an opportunity to do so. That's because all rentals are subject to what's known as the "implied warranty of habitability," which is the obligation that the rental premises be "fit for its intended purpose"--e.g. safe and appropriate to live in. Floors, especially in older buildings, are often uneven; floors are walls are often stained. Conditions like this would not violate the implied warranty of habitability; it would take something which really affects habitability (the ability to live there) to violate the implied warranty of habitability in way which would let you terminate the lease.


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