Forced to Live in Condo During Construction...

by Barbara
(Deerfield Beach, FL)

On April 12th, my condo (which I rent) was damaged by a neighbor's broken water pipe in their bathroom. My condo and 2 others were severely damaged. Though my landlord agreed to fix the problem and install new flooring throughout my condo, I had to live in the condo during the construction.

My children and I had to sleep in the house while dust and debris was being thrown in the air. My landlord refused to put us up in hotel during this time. My home was unsafe and unlivable, yet we had no other place to go.

What are my rights and should I have to pay rent this month? It was a horrific situation and I feel I have been cheated. He has no homeowners insurance and his mortgage company probably does not know that he is renting this property.

He does have insurance through the management company of the complex. He has mentioned that if he receives any reward that he will give me some monies, but I do not believe him. He refuses to give me the name of the insurance company through the association.

I am really, really upset and I would like some answers from him as I believe I am entitled to them. Thank you for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Forced to Live in Condo During Construction...":

Barbara (Deerfield Beach, FL):

A landlord has a legal duty to protect his tenants from unreasonable harm. Although going through a construction phase must have been unnerving, you and your children weren't really harmed.

No one would doubt during the construction phase you and your children lived under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Unfortunately those circumstances alone do not constitute injury.

You are in a difficult position. Having to go through what you and your children did must have been unnerving. Having construction men working at all hours of the day must have been a terrible experience.

The first thing to do is read your written lease agreement. See if there is any language within it which permits you to withhold rent money during construction periods, or of you are allowed a "rent abatement" during that time.

Then see if there is a clause about compensation to the tenant for those times when the condo is uninhabitable. If you don't have a written lease there is little you can do. Your only remaining option would be to move out at the expiration of the lease term.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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