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Re: Tenant Highly Contributed To Mold Growth In Condo
by Susan (Florida)
on May 13, 2012 @19:42
I am a licensed attorney in the state of Florida, and have been in practice since 1990. I specialize in Real Estate Law, Landlord/Tenant Law, General Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury Law.
I am very amazed by your posting. I've handled similar cases to yours both successfully and unsuccessfully. My advice to you is to keep this matter out of the court system. Not only will it cost the tenant money to pursue this (if in fact his threats are not a big bluff of hot air), but also cost you money to defend it. I must say though that the longer a tenant stays in a lease agreement, and living in a rental property with these 'alleged' conditions the less likely his or her allegations are.
If in fact your interpretation of this tenant being a schemer trying to get out of his lease early without any more financial commitments is true then your goal should be get this tenant out your rental property, and to no longer be a tenant party to this lease agreement. I've seen folks like this (as you allege), and they have a tendency to complain about everything under the sun as a means to avoid paying rent, and/or avoid meeting their obligations. It's best to meet any and all of your obligations first, and then wait it out for them to take the first swing of not meeting their obligations. Then you can effectively respond to either evict or collect obligated monies on your part as the landlord.
With the exception of not having a 'Mold Adendum' in your lease agreement I think you handled this situation properly. You responded to the mold issue, had experts investigate, and did what these experts suggested to remedy the issue. You also employed an attorney to respond to the matter brought up by the tenant to his attorney who sent you a notice letter. You should now have a little more leverage or control of the direction of this issue being you have an attorney representing you. I would now just let your attorney, and his attorney work this issue out, and keep it out of the court system.
As mentioned before the goal is now to dispose of this issue, and the tenant without incurring any more expense. Perhaps, your attorney should propose a mutual release agreement allowing you to retain a certain amount of monies already collected but also to release you of any and all liabilties towards this tenant. This way you are not totally on the losing end of the stick, and the tenant has no recourse to legally come after you after the matter has been finally resolved.
Hopefully, this will be a big learning experience for you, and demonstrate the importance of properly screening tenants, and employing the usage of a mold adendum in lease agreements.
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