Are new landlords permitted to charge tenants for oil leak in the parking lot if a car is worthy”?

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Are new landlords permitted to charge tenants for oil leak in the parking lot if a car is worthy”?

I am currently in the middle of my lease. The lease is a standard rental agreement. The brand new owners have placed warnings on all the doors that if you have an oil leak and do not have it fixed in 1week that they will be charging you $50 per day. All cars are road worthy but do have general leaks and such. If the tenants pay their rent on time, are the owners able to slap them with $50 per day charges if they do not have there cars fixed? The parking lot is not assigned and any visitors park anywhere they choose because parking is never enforced.

Asked on February 15, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1)  The landlord may not change or add terms to a lease in the middle of it, unless there was a specific reservation of the power to do so. (e.g. there was a clause in the lease saying that the landlord could make new rules.) They of course may add new rules when the lease is renewed, and tenants who don't agree don't have to sign.

2) If it can be proven that a tenant's car damaged the landlord's lot in some way beyond the usual wear and tear that a parking lot gets, then that tenant may be charged for the repair cost and it may be taken out of the tenant's security deposit. Most drippings from parked cars would probably be normal wear and tear, though its not impossible for an excessive leak to justify charging a tenant.

3) The fact that a car is road worthy is irrelevant, if either there is a rule made pursuant to (1) or provably exceptional damage, etc. per (2).


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