CLEARWATER, Fla. — Last May, Rachel, her husband, and their son moved into their Clearwater home.
The Molina’s say it was a sign of what was to come. Through pictures, emails, code enforcement reports, and an engineer’s inspection the family told us their story of a rental gone wrong.
At one point these renters claim the heat went out. In November they say the stove caught fire. They found nonworking smoke detectors and windows they say would not open.
The family says the property manager was slow to respond to repair requests. Code Enforcement cited the owner for multiple issues that involved electrical wiring, the smoke detectors, and windows.
Then in December, a portion of the patio ceiling came crashing down.
These tenants hired an engineer to examine the house. The report concluded that area was unsafe structurally.
Bay Area Legal Services attorney Martin Lawyer specializes in landlord-tenant cases.
He says according to Florida Law the landlord is not legally compelled to make repairs until they received written notice and email does not count.
The family terminated their lease six weeks early after providing a written notice to withhold rent due to delays in repairs. The property owners then filed a claim in court for the rent owed, security deposit and attorney’s fees. Neither the home's owner nor Professional Real Estate Management would answer our questions regarding the Molina's claims.
If you are renting check out Florida’s landlord-tenant law. It is a clear guide to your rights.