Can our landlord lock us out?

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Can our landlord lock us out?

We have been asking my landlord since 05/10 to have the A/C checked and they refused. On 09/11/10 the air started blowing warmer and it was maintaining 90 degrees inside. I called the landlord, he came out and said it was fine and if we insist on having a professional check, we will be paying for it. He refused to handle it so we had to call out a repair man who then fixed it. I asked our landlord to work with us on the rent because we put out $420 to fix the A/C. They then refused and said they were kicking us out. We don’t know what to do. What are our basic rights as tenants? Should we speak to a real estate attorney? In Pasco County, FL.

Asked on September 20, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You could sue the landlord for retaliatory eviction.  Retaliatory eviction is when the landlord retaliates against you for something that is not a breach of the lease.  In your case, the landlord is retaliating against you for having the air conditioner fixed when he refused to repair it.  You could also deduct the cost of the repairs from your rent.

You might also have another cause of action (claim) in your lawsuit for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  The implied warranty of habitability requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable condition.  The implied warranty of habitability requires compliance with local and/or state housing codes.  You could argue that the landlord's refusal to repair the air conditioner when the indoor temperature is 90 degrees constitutes a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.

It would be advisable to speak with a landlord/tenant attorney and preferably an attorney who represents tenants. 


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