How Can Florida Landlords Make Living Spaces Habitable?
All landlords in Florida must comply with the law of habitability. In other words, a landlord has an obligation to make living spaces habitable before a tenant moves in. Unfortunately, many landlords do not know what makes a living space “habitable” and thus fail to comply with all reasonable provisions required by building, housing, and health codes.
If a landlord violates the law of habitability or any applicable regulations, their tenant can file a lawsuit against the landlord for actual and consequential damages as a result of the violation.
Making Living Spaces Habitable in Florida
Below, we gathered general information about how landlords in Florida can make their living spaces habitable. However, it is advised to consult with an attorney to review your particular situation to avoid any potential landlord-tenant litigation.
Landlords Must Make Necessary Repairs
The first step in making your living spaces habitable is making necessary repairs to ensure that everything in the rental room, apartment, or house is functioning properly and in good condition.
Also, landlords must ensure that there are functioning locks and keys. If necessary, the landlord must exterminate rats, insects, bed bugs, and other infestations on the property.
Landlords Must Provide Hot and Cold Running Water
Florida’s law of habitability requires landlords to ensure that the property has hot and cold running water that can be used by their tenants.
Landlords Must Provide Working Electricity and Electrical Wiring
Properly functioning electricity and working electrical wiring is directly related to the tenants’ safety. For this reason, landlords must ensure that their rental unit complies with all local building, housing, and safety codes concerning lighting, electrical wiring, electricity, smoke detectors, and others.
Landlords Must Ensure That All Critical Services Are Functioning Properly
In Florida, landlords have an obligation to ensure that all vital services in the rental unit, including but not limited to heat, plumbing, gas, and others, are functioning properly. If there are any issues with critical services, the landlord must fix them in a timely manner. Regular inspection and maintenance of the systems that supply vital utilities will ensure that the services are functioning properly.
Landlords Must Maintain Common Areas
Florida’s habitability law requires landlords to keep common areas in a clean and safe condition. Landlords are required to provide adequate lighting and eliminate any hazards that may cause injuries.
However, a landlord’s obligations for maintenance and making repairs can be limited under the lease. It would help if you spoke with a skilled attorney to ensure that you are doing everything that is required to make living spaces habitable.
If your rental house, apartment, or room does not comply with the requirements above, you could face a lawsuit from the tenant. A landlord’s failure to keep a rental property in a habitable condition gives the tenant the right to break the lease and/or withhold rent from the landlord until he or she eliminates or remedies the condition.
Consult with our West Palm Beach landlord-tenant litigation lawyers at Pike & Lustig, LLP, to make sure that your rental unit is in a habitable condition. Schedule a consultation by calling at 561-291-8298.