Miami Beach Landlord Sued Over Maintenance Issues
According to reporting from the Daily Business Review, a Miami landlord is facing a lawsuit from two of his former tenants who are alleging that the landlord neglect forced them to deal with a large number of costly maintenance issues.
In this article, our experienced Miami landlord tenant dispute lawyers explain the allegations being raised in this case and discuss the maintenance-related legal requirements that South Florida landlords must follow.
Miami Beach Tenant Alleges Landlord Neglect Led to Enormous Water Bills
The tenants have filed a lawsuit against John Christopher Babin, the CEO of high-end Italian luxury designed Bulgari. Mr. Babin rents out a large home in Miami Beach. Notably, this complaint has been jointly filed by two separate tenants who rented his South Florida home in 2016 and 2017.
According to their legal complaint, Mr. Babin is responsible for large water bills that they were forced to pay. They allege that there was an unrepaired leak under the property for more than 12 months, and that the leak resulted in them tenants being billed an enormous amount for monthly water expenses. Indeed, the tenants claim that the monthly water bill sometimes exceeded $2,900. They also claim that they were forced to pay for repairs of the leak, and were never reimbursed for these maintenance costs.
Florida Landlords Have a Duty to Provide a Habitable Residence
Under Florida law, residential landlords are legally required to provide their tenants with a safe and habitable residence. Proper maintenance is an important part of this legal requirement. When tenants report an issue to their landlord, the landlord should be sure to take the report seriously. The Florida Landlord Tenant Act outlines specific duties for landlords. These are extensive requirements. If a landlord fails to produce a habitable property, the tenant may technically be in their rights to withhold rent until the issue is repaired. For South Florida landlords, it is important to have a well-designed system in place to deal with all maintenance issues.
This case provides a useful example of what can go wrong if quick action is not taken. Massive water leaks can cost an enormous amount of money. It is unlikely that a Florida court would find a tenant responsible for an underground water leak. Unless the tenant acted in a negligent manner, and caused damage to the property that resulted in a water leak, a landlord is likely responsible for repairing the leak and mitigating the damage. If a water leak leads to a major water bill spike, and the landlord fails to address the problem after the tenant complains about the issue, then the landlord may run into legal or financial trouble. To protect their interests, South Florida landlords should always be proactive.
Contact Our Miami Landlord Tenant Attorneys Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our top-rated Miami landlord rights lawyers have served clients in South Florida for decades. When you work with our lawyers, we will fight to protect the legal rights and financial interests. For a free consultation, please give us a call today at our primary office in West Palm Beach or our second location in the heart of Miami.