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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2015

    Default My Landlord Won't Repair the Air Conditioner

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Florida.

    I'm renting a bedroom in a house as a roommate/tenant with the owner - so my landlord IS my roommate. When I saw the unit and again, when I signed the lease and gave him my security deposit, the AC was working fine. By the day I moved in it was out. I moved in mid-month, with my rent due on the 3rd, so I wrote a check for the pro-rated rent to the guy on the day of move-in. I've been given repeated excuses from this guy about not trusting the guys he hired to repair the AC from day one. The first guy he didn't like, so he fired him. Then he spent 5 days 'researching' the AC unit himself and decided he was going to order a unit on eBay and do the repair himself. Then he hired a new guy, and after telling me the AC would be fixed for four days running, he told me he'd fired him because he didn't trust him. Yesterday, on day 16 of my residence, I asked him for a timeline on when the AC would be fixed and got 'soon'. I asked him to be more specific, because this is rendering the unit untenantable. He told me it was my choice to be there and if I had somewhere else to go I was welcome to do that, moreover I was 'disturbing the peace in his home.' I spent the night researching my tenant rights to get out of this lease/situation and looking for other roommate/residential listings. He just called me and told me he's purchased a new unit, and 'hopefully the guy will come to install it tomorrow'. I'm unsure if this is another carrot he's hoping to dangle in front of me to get me to keep from withholding rent, or if he's being legit.

    Can anyone tell me what my best course of action here is?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: My Landlord Won't Repair the Air Conditioner

    Florida law requires that tenants follow a statutory process to withhold rent, and that process only applies when there is a severe problem with the unit affecting habitability. See Florida Statutes Sec. 83.51, 83.60. There is no law in Florida that requires air conditioning to be offered at all, let alone that makes it a component of habitability.

    The fact that your landlord does not have to provide air conditioning is a separate issue from your landlord's duty to repair an air conditioner that was provided as part of the tenancy, unless the duty to repair the A/C was modified by the lease. But in the absence of a problem of sufficient severity to trigger the rent withholding statute, we're talking about the possibility of (for example) a legal action to seek a partial rent abatement.

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