Can I Get Out of my Lease if There is Mold?
Can I Get Out of my Lease if There is Mold, is a question that many honest and decent renters/tenants frequently ask me. Florida is a warm state that furnishes a climate in which mold could become a problem if untreated by the landlord and/or the tenant. A reasonable (reasonable is perhaps the most important word in the legal dictionary, and ironically, it has a different interpretation and application for almost every unique situation) landlord and a reasonable tenant should take simple steps to prevent the outbreak of mold in their rental home(s) or apartment(s). According to the Center for Disease Control, “Exposure to mold can lead to asthma attacks, eye and skin irritation, and allergic reactions. It can lead to severe infections in people with weakened immune systems.” Whether you are the landlord or the tenant in a situation in which mold growth and exposure is a problem, you should take the situation seriously to prevent harm. Attorney Jonathan Jacobs is a mold attorney in Florida and mold attorney in Orlando Florida.
Breaking a Lease Due to Black Mold
To best address the central question posed, “Can I Get Out of my Lease if There is Mold?”, it is important for a tenant to examine the lease agreement before breaking a lease due to black mold. When a landlord is aware of prior mold issues, they may include mold addendums in their lease agreement contracts. Landlords may seek to hold tenants responsible for the growth of mold, sometimes fairly, and sometimes unfairly. For example, some tenants will follow their contract(s) to the letter of the law and take every reasonable precaution to ensure the mold-free habitability of their rental home. Meanwhile, some landlords will ignore or neglect any water damages issues, corroded water seals, or telltale signs of mold infestation even if made aware of the situation. Both sides could be at fault, particularly if a tenant fails to notify a landlord of any mold-related conditions within the premises, and the landlord has no reason to suspect the growth of mold. Ultimately, if informed and aware of the situation, a reasonable landlord should consider mold remediation when appropriate, and a reasonable tenant should take precautionary measures to prevent the growth or subsequent spread of mold and avoid any situations that could trigger a lawsuit. Breaking a lease due to black mold is by no means a guarantee, and whether a court will allow you to do this is a question of fact.
Can I Get Out of my Lease if There is Mold? Mold Removal Rental Property
Generally, there are two primary remedies available to a tenant when his/her rental home has been invaded by mold. First, let’s assume that a tenant has found mold, notified the landlord of the mold, possibly suffered medical symptoms from mold exposure, and has been forced to move out due to the mold. In such a circumstance, one legal remedy is for the tenant to withhold rent for the amount of time they have been “constructively evicted.” Constructive eviction occurs when a landlord has failed to maintain the premises in such a manner as to render the home uninhabitable. Uninhabitability of a home may occur with the spreading of certain types of mold. Further, if the landlord has been given appropriate notice, and has not taken reasonable action to remedy the problem, the renter may wish to consider hiring his/her own licensed mold remediator to clean up the premises. The mold remediation fee, if reasonable, can be, in some circumstances, subtracted from the rent owed to the landlord. The original question of can I get out of my lease if there is mold, is now one of choice of proper remedies for each unique situation. Breaking a lease due to black mold is not necessarily the first option a tenant should consider.
The second major remedy when there is a mold issue, is to terminate the lease if the mold problem is significant. In order to seek to terminate a lease agreement on account of mold, a tenant generally must provide a landlord with reasonable notice (7 or more days is the general statutory provision) to allow the landlord to remedy the situation. The difficulty a tenant may face is that testing for mold may take time, and mold remediation may take more than a week to fully perform. During that time the renter may be without their furniture, clothing, groceries, toiletries, and/or a place to stay. In some cases, if the landlord neglects to clean up the premises despite more than adequate notice, the tenant is considered to be constructively evicted. If you would like more information please contact a mold attorney in Orlando Florida.
Mold Attorney in Florida, Mold Attorney in Orlando Florida
Back to the central question, Can I Get Out of my Lease if There is Mold? The answer is maybe. The terminability of a residential lease and breaking a lease due to black mold depend on factors such as: the wording of the lease agreement, whether the tenant or the landlord has taken reasonable steps to prevent or eliminate the problem, whether the tenant has suffered health problems because of the mold, and if reasonable notice has been given by the tenant to the landlord. If you are a landlord or a tenant who needs to speak with a lawyer about the mold situation in a residence, please contact Attorney Jonathan Jacobs, mold attorney in Florida, mold attorney in Orlando Florida, for a consultation to discuss your legal rights and responsibilities.
Click here to see the Environmental Protection Agency’s A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, And Your Home. For information on unlawful detainer in Florida, call us today. Enjoy our entire law website. As a mold attorney in Orlando Florida, I can tell you that breaking a lease due to black mold may result in a small claims lawsuit or perhaps in a more significant lawsuit for damages over $5,000 or even above $15,000.