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Wish you could ask a lawyer about the landlord-tenant relationship? We …

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There are two starting points to consider regarding mold. First, the landlord must comply with all building, housing, and health codes, which essentially means that a leased home or apartment must be water-tight (mold is usually caused by the presence of excess moisture). Second, the tenant has a duty to take care of his/her leased home/apartment, which includes not allowing moisture to accumulate (i.e., moisture stemming from the shower being used, watering plants, condensation on the inside of windows on a hot day, etc.).

To make a claim upon a deposit, a landlord has to send a written notice to the tenant within 30 days of the date the tenant vacated, to the tenant’s last known address, by certified mail, stating [i] the amount of the landlord’s claim, and [ii] the basis for the claim. If the tenant does not agree with the landlord’s claim, the tenant must object, in writing, within 15 days of receiving the landlord’s claim letter. The Florida Statutes encourages the landlord and the tenant to negotiate a settlement at that point, which may or may not be successful. If no settlement is reached, the tenant has an option to file a lawsuit against the landlord to recover the security deposit. Such suit would be in small claims court if $5,000 or less; county court if over $5,000 but not more than $15,000.   In apartment communities, a landlord is required to comply with all “applicable building, housing and health codes.”  This generally means that the landlord is supposed to maintain many items, including fire alarms, leaky roofs and pipes, A/C, etc.  Landlords of single-family homes and duplexes may, if stated in the lease, move the responsibility for maintenance of those items over to the tenant. Also, if maintenance or repair is required due to the tenant’s negligence (i.e., the tenant damages the carpeting), then the landlord may charge back the cost of repair to the tenant.

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