How do I make sure safety issues dealing with maintenance on my apartment are taken care of in a timely manner?

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How do I make sure safety issues dealing with maintenance on my apartment are taken care of in a timely manner?

I live in a 3 story apartment building on the bottom floor. I noticed cracking at the top of my living room wall which is an exterior wall, after looking more the siding on the outside is buckled as well in multiple spots. Then I found a hole that has no side where you can see there are beams that have rotted on the bottom of the second floor. I told the complex over a week ago and they have made no movement on getting this issue even looked at. I spoke with them about it on 3 occasions. What can I do to make sure this gets fixed? I feel my safety and others are at risk.

Asked on April 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can contact your local housing code inspector and that individual can take enforcement action against the landlord to compel the landlord to make the necessary repairs.

In every lease, there is an implied warranty of habitability which requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with local and state housing codes.  When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant notifies the landlord as you have done.  The landlord is required to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs.  Since this is a safety issue, you could argue that it constitutes a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant can meke the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent or the tenant can move out and terminate the obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease or if the tenant remains on the premises, the tenant can withhold rent and defend against eviction.


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