We frequently receive inquiries from potential clients concerning whether the landlord is allowed to charge the two-month early termination fee / liquidated damages which are contained in the addendum to the Lease, if the tenant needs to move out of the unit due to the landlord's failure to maintain the leased premises. If the tenant follow the proper steps, the tenant can avoid being responsible for these charges or penalties. Florida Lease Early Termination Fee Starting in 2004, Florida landlord were allowed to charge an early termination fee (also known as liquidated damages) not to exceed two months of rent. In order to charge the early termination fee, a separately signed lease addendum is required to be attached to [...]
Sewage backups in condominium drain lines can be a potentially dangerous problem to resolve. Many condominium associations do not hire the necessary licensed, insured and trained personnel to remediate when it occurs.
Can a Condo Association Only Pass a Special Assessment for Damage Against Some, but not All Units in the Condominium?
Recently, we began receiving phone calls from potential clients inquiring whether a condo association is permitted to levy special assessments against some, but not all, of the unit owners in the condominium after the condominium incurred some type of casualty loss such as water or mold damage, hurricane damage, and even fire damage. While the analysis can sometimes be complicated, the simple answer is association cannot levy special assessments against selected unit owners unless a special unit owner intentionally, or was negligent in causing the damage. In addition, without evidence of intent or negligence, the association should not be levying a special assessment in situations where the association incurred damage in portions of the condominium that they are required [...]
On November 29, 2018, the Mold Lawyers from Militzok & Associates won the entry of a temporary injunction against the Jamaica House Condominium Association in the 17th Judicial Circuit of Broward County, Florida after the Association repeatedly refused to perform destructive testing at the request of our client, the unit owner. The unit owner alleged that water was intruding from the outer perimeter of his condominium unit and had requested the association investigate the source of the water. After the Association refused to open up the necessary areas of drywall and ceiling which are considered to be part of the common elements belonging to the Condo Association, the unit owner was forced to bring suit and move for a temporary [...]
We often receive phone calls from potential clients inquiring whether the air conditioning system in their home could be the cause of mold exposure related health symptoms. Mold typically develops in air conditioning systems when the system is not regularly maintained, including the regular changing of the air filters and cleaning of the evaporator coils. Mold will also develop if the air conditioning equipment is not properly dehumidifying the air. Some signs that your air conditioning system may be circulating mold in your home is if you smell a strong mold/musty type odor when you run the air conditioning, if the home feels unusually humid, if your monthly electric bill is higher than normal, if you see dark circular [...]
After a landlord of a multi-dwelling apartment building failed to timely accept responsibility for addressing a known bed bug problem in the building, the Mold Lawyers brought suit on behalf of one of the tenants who was exposed to the flesh biting bed bugs. The tenant repeatedly complained to the building's property manager who initially declined to treat the bed bugs even though such treatment was the landlord's legal responsibility under the lease. Our client was bitten on a nightly basis while she slept in her own bed. The bed bug bites that she suffered resulted in permanent scarring of her skin. After early attempts to resolve this matter with the Landlord's insurance company resulted in only a nominal [...]
One of our toxic mold exposure cases was recently featured on the national television news program, "ABC World News Tonight with David Muir". The same story also aired on the ABC News magazine, "Nightline". The case was filed on behalf of our clients Bruce Nicholson, Lisa Daspit and their two year old daughter Brielle against Waypoint Homes. Waypoint Homes and Invitation Homes are nationwide corporate landlords and are reported to have a combined 9,403 rental homes in South Florida and another 8,829 homes in the Tampa area. The lawsuit alleges that Waypoint Homes' failure to address the maintenance requests of our clients resulted in the collapse of the ceiling in their living room and the un-mitigated water intrusion resulted in [...]
In South Florida, it is common that homes will, at one point or another, suffer water damage which frequently originates from roof leaks, pipe leaks, air conditioning leaks, and cracked exterior stucco and foundations. Those leaks, combined with our humid weather makes for the perfect environment for mold to grow and spread. When buying or selling a home, the real estate contract typically allows the buyer the opportunity to inspect the home during a period of time called the "Inspection Period" or "Due Diligence Period". During this time, the Buyer has the right to conduct inspections using licensed home inspectors and/or mold inspectors to ensure that the buyer is satisfied with the home. Must Sellers Disclose All Known Mold [...]
Mold in the classroom is making teachers and students sick, according to an article that appeared in the August 21, 2017 edition of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the presence of toxic mold in Broward County public school classrooms continues to be a problem for many teachers and students. The article claims that mold was found growing on the surfaces of student desks at Northeast High School in Oakland Park. According to one anonymous teacher's written complaint from Northeast High School, "Students are always ill, need to leave class to blow their nose, absent because of chronic sinus infections, constant coughing and congestion, watery eyes and nose, red eye from irritation, nausea, and so on. According to the article, one [...]
Unfortunately in Florida, the mold protection laws are relatively weak. In comparison, states such as California and Texas have strong regulations regarding mold exposure. Florida has two basic sets of laws relating to the presence of mold in a Florida dwelling. Florida's Tenant Protection Law First, are the general protections provided under Florida's landlord-tenant statutes which are contained in Chapter 83, Part II, Florida Statutes. For tenants, s. 83.51, Florida Statutes, requires that the landlord "[c]omply with the requirements of applicable building, housing, and health codes" and if the premises is located in an area that doesn't have local building, housing or health codes, then the landlord is required to "maintain the roofs, windows, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations, [...]