What to do about landlord lack of cooperation in a rent-to-own situation?

UPDATED: Oct 13, 2011

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What to do about landlord lack of cooperation in a rent-to-own situation?

I am currently half way through a 1 year rent to own program. I intend on exercising the option at the end of the year to buy the home. However, during this time of rental, the house has shown to have a small leak in the roof and an ant problem that keeps coming back. I have already fixed several things myself that were promised to me when I first signed the agreement, such as buying/installing light fixtures, smoke detectors, window screens, etc. The landlord (who lives in another state) has agreed to get the problem fixed but the handyman that he has chosen has never come to look at the roof. I have spoken and written to both for the last 2 months and the landlord will not approve for me to find someone here in town to fix the problem. My next action was to get a copy of the landlord tenant act, which I am having difficulty finding and send the section to the landlord to remind him of his responsibilities (is this a good idea)? I was also wondering what I could do to protect myself before exercising the option to purchase before the year end (next year).

Asked on October 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you have a written lease option to buy agreement of the property that you are currently renting from your landlord, you need to carefully read its terms in that the document controls the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

If there are physical problems with the unit you intend to buy that are not being fixed in a timely manner by the out of state landlord by his handyman, you need to memorialize this failure in writing by way of a letter sent to him or her certified mail return receipt requested keeping a copy of the letter for future reference.

The letter needs to state specifically what the problems are and the need to repair them by a certain date. If they are not repaired by a certain date, you will do the repairs and deduct such repairs from the next month's renatl sending a copy of the invoices for repairs as a backup to the landlord.

The above suggestions are a good start to protect yourself before exercising your option to purchase. As a further safeguard, you should consult with a real estate attorney about your situation and have a licensed contractor inspect it for you to ascertain any additional problems before the option is exercised.

Good luck.


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