Central Florida Rental Company Facing Potential FDUTPA Liability
According to reporting from Spectrum News 13, a rental company in Central Florida is facing potential liability under the FDUTPA for materially misrepresenting the condition of a three bedroom rental home in Orlando. Florida Beach Coast, an Orange County-based company, is alleged to have engaged in a pattern of deceptive behavior. In this blog post, our Miami deceptive & unfair trade practices lawyers discuss the allegations and explain how Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act could be implicated.
Allegations: Rental Property Was Misrepresented, Conditions are Not Habitable
Wilnise Saint-Clermont, a mother of three young children, moved into a rental property in Orlando, Florida. According to allegations raised in the report, Ms. Saint-Clermont is looking to move out of the home on Orlando’s Lake Lawne Avenue just a few weeks after arriving. She alleges:
- Serious plumbing problems;
- Mold and mildew covering windows;
- Significant damages to the HVAC system;
- An infestation of pests; and
- More than a dozen unaddressed code violations.
The Code Enforcement Division of the City of Orlando has cited the rental property for several violations of the past few months. Under Florida law, residential tenants have a right to habitability. If a landlord fails to provide reasonably livable conditions, a tenant may have good cause to withhold rent and get out of their lease earlier.
Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act Bars Illegitimate Commercial Practices
As reported by Spectrum News 13, this case is unique because there are also allegations of a Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) violation. According to Ms. Saint-Clermont, the rental company that advertised the property (Florida Beach Coast) posted many photos online that disguised the true nature of the property. While the pictures showed a nice property, they allegedly were outdated and materially misrepresented the true condition of the three bedroom rental unit.
A Rental Company Could Be Liable under the FDUTPA for False Advertising
The FDUTPA is our state’s most powerful consumer protection law. It strictly prohibits businesses and commercial entities from engaging in unfair or deceptive practices, including false advertising. The story notes that the rental company could potentially be facing legal liability under the FDUTPA based on intentional false advertising and misrepresentation of the condition of the property. Renting a property—even if only for residential purposes—is still a commercial transaction. A landlord or rental company in Florida can be held legally liable if they violate the FDUTPA in attempting to secure a tenant for their rental property.
Call Our Florida FDUTPA Attorneys for Immediate Help With Your Case
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business & consumer fraud attorneys are focused on protecting the rights and interests of our clients. Do you want more information about Florida’s deceptive and unfair trade practices law? We are here to help you find answers. Call us today for a confidential case review. We represent clients in Miami, West Palm Beach, and every other community in the surrounding area, including in Miami Beach, Hialeah, Coral Gables, Boca Raton, and Fort Lauderdale.