If our landlord tried fixing freon leak, repeatedly nd unsuccessfully, and we have to leave for health reasons can we sue for constructive eviction?

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If our landlord tried fixing freon leak, repeatedly nd unsuccessfully, and we have to leave for health reasons can we sue for constructive eviction?

Our air conditioner has broken 35 times in 3 years, always mid-summer when its 90+ degree weather outside. Our apartment complex has send out maintenance personnel to fix the freon leak every time we tell them its broken, but instead of finding and fixing the leak, they just recharge the freon and say its fixed. A couple of days ago it got to be almost 100 degrees inside our apartment and we had to leave for health concerns, since one pet already died from the heat. Can we sue for constructive eviction if they haphazardly tried to fix the problem, but it was never actually fixed?

Asked on July 31, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

While landlords have to given an opportunity to fix a problem affecting habitability, if they persistently do not or cannot fix it, and the condition renders the premises unsafe or unhealthy for habitation, that could constitute constructive eviction. In that instance, the tenant could terminate the lease without penalty; sue for monetary compensation for the time the tenants lived with the unhealthy condition; and possibly seek other compensation or costs as well (e.g. the cost of the dead pet). You should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney to explore your options in detail.


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