Mold Claims by a Florida Tenant: Can You Sue the Landlord When Mold Is Found in a Leased Home, Apartment, Office, or Condo?

Posted By on April 22, 2014

Last Update: 10/4/17

In Florida,  the leasing and renting of residential and commercial real estate is governed by Florida statutes and Florida court opinions – which together, make-up Florida’s Landlord-Tenant Law.

Mold Issues and Landlord-Tenant Disputes

In Florida, there’s a particularly common issue that causes legal disputes between landlords and tenants year after year, particularly when the weather heats up. It’s mold and mold-related damages.

Any impact on the quality of air that a person breathes inside a rented apartment, or other residential dwelling, or commercial structure (for example, an office building), as well as the impact of mold on personal property, can be a serious legal concern for all of the parties involved in the leasing or renting of real estate (after all, mold can affect the habitability of property).

In fact, mold can be so harmful that its presence can sometimes lead to a personal injury claim being asserted against a property owner and other interested parties (i.e. real estate agents). (An injury claim would be in addition to claims for rent repayment, rent reduction, cleaning or replacement of a tenant’s personal property, remediation, and other applicable causes of action.)

Mold Claims – What About Insurance?

Florida renters, home owners, landlords, property managers, and those operating businesses in our area need to be on a constant vigil against the presence of mold as well as identifying environments where mold can grow and flourish.

Accordingly, most renters, property owners and businesses, can purchase insurance policies that cover the expense of mold remediation and for damages. Thus, if available, it is highly recommended that an insurance policy covering this type of loss should be purchased (make sure to read your policy when you get it to determine the extent of your mold coverage, the steps you must take to make a claim, and if the carrier has a large deductible).

(Also note, some insurance policies may require the insured party to mitigate any damage to the property. So, if additional damage occurs that could have been prevented, the insurance company may deny your claim.  Furthermore, Florida law allows insurance companies to withhold payments for any damage until repairs have been made for certain insurance claims. Therefore, the property owner, tenant, or other responsible party may be required to pay for damages before the insurance company will reimburse them for any repairs.)

Can Mold Cause a Loss of Business Claim?

A claim for damages in a mold lawsuit can be significant, particularly if a business is involved and the lawsuit includes a claim for lost profits. For example, a business may sue its landlord for lost profits it would have enjoyed but for the mold event (the mold prevented the tenant from being able to run its business – see, e.g., Katz Deli of Aventura, Inc., v. Waterways Plaza, LLC).  Of course, employers can also face their own injury damage claims from employees who may have suffered respiratory injuries from long-term mold exposure at their place of employment.

Tenant Personal Injury Claims

If a residential tenant becomes seriously ill due to mold exposure, then the landlord could be held liable for those injuries. In Florida, residential landlords are responsible for preventing mold by making reasonable repairs to the premises and maintaining the property in such a way that mold is not going to readily grow.

For example, a landlord should continually monitor property for mold growth, especially where mold has been found growing in the past or where the property is located in a environment known to be prone to wet and moist conditions. Also, a landlord should inspect the premises for mold before renting to a new residential tenant, especially when the landlord is aware of a past mold problem caused by a leaking roof, window, sink, toilet or any other part of the premises.

Under Florida law, it is the landlord’s responsibility to be aware of these dangers and to take the necessary precautions to make sure that property is safe.  However, if a tenant discovers mold, it is then the responsibility of the tenant to promptly notify the landlord of the mold discovery so the landlord can then undertake immediate mold remediation procedures. Should a tenant fail to do so, the tenant’s procrastination can be a defense by the landlord against a later injury or damage claim, thus mitigating the landlord’s financial liability.

When a claim for personal injury is contemplated, the questions most often asked relate to the type and amount of compensation that can be recovered.  To answer those questions, and to determine the viability of any claim against a landlord, the tenant will need to provide details to his or her attorney about things like the length of time they have resided in the property, whether or not they gave notice to the landlord, and when, whether or not the landlord was aware of the mold before renting the property to the tenant, as well as other pertinent information.

Therefore, a good piece of advice for a tenant having a mold problem with a landlord is to speak with an experienced Florida real estate lawyer to learn about his or her rights because the law provides for the payment of attorney fees in the event a landlord is determined to have violated the law (which means, in many instances, a tenant will not have to pay any money to a lawyer, unless the lawyer wins the case). Most real estate lawyers, like Larry Tolchinsky, offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person, whichever you prefer) to answer your questions.

Learn More: Toxic Mold Exposure and Your Rights

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Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Larry an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.

 
 
 
 
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Comments

40 Responses to “Mold Claims by a Florida Tenant: Can You Sue the Landlord When Mold Is Found in a Leased Home, Apartment, Office, or Condo?”

  1. Janet Gutrzmore says:

    Hello,

    I’ve been living at my apartment since September of last year. The first night ….

  2. We cannot answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we’ve edited your comment to protect your personal information and ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat.

    Thanks,
    Larry

  3. Tazzmia Garland says:

    Hello,.I was recently living in a condo that was infected with mold …..

  4. tina houston says:

    I’m trying to find out if u can sue a landlord for moving you into an apt with mushrooms growing in the hallway and bathroom.

  5. Hi Tina,
    Ewww!!! Unfortunately, we cannot answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat.

    Thanks,
    Larry

  6. Hi Tazzmia,
    So sorry to learn of your crisis with mold. Unfortunately, we cannot answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we’ve edited your comment to protect your personal information and ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat.

    Thanks,
    Larry

  7. Eleonor says:

    We have just transferred in an apartment and after a month of renting the place we notice presence of mold …

  8. Hi Eleonor,
    We cannot answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we’ve edited your comment to protect your personal information and ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat.

    Thanks,
    Larry

  9. Raul Ortiz says:

    I recently moved in to a townhouse. Rental. The listing agent pushed the issue to sign the lease….day after signing is when I pointed out the mold issue …A/C went out and I stood without hot water for a day. Only a week in this unit. What can be done

  10. Hi Raul,
    Yikes! We cannot answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we’ve edited your comment to protect your personal information and ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat.

    Thanks,
    Larry

  11. Jessica says:

    Can you refer us a lawyer in …..

  12. Hi,
    We cannot answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we’ve edited your comment to protect your personal information and ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat.

    Thanks,
    Larry

  13. Tracy Staples says:

    I am in desperate need of an attorney in the Panama City Beach, Fl. area regarding mold in my apartment. Can you give me any suggestions please! Thank you so much!

  14. HI Tracy,
    We cannot answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat.

    Thanks,
    Larry

  15. Janella says:

    What is the time frame that mold should be removed from residence. I’m renting and curious because I have a open hole with mold visible

  16. Hi Janella,
    We cannot answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat about your lease and rental.

    Thanks,
    Larry

  17. Matt C says:

    Hi Larry, Thank you for taking the time to write up this post regarding mold in rental property; I found it most useful.
    Is it common for landlords, primarily Real Estate Corporations, to carry mold insurance?

  18. Hi Matt,
    Glad the post was helpful! As for Landlords that are Real Estate Corporations, not sure where you’re going — please feel free to give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat if this relates to a personal situation (we’re thinking it does).

    Thanks,
    Larry

  19. Kellymarie Robinson says:

    I’m new to Florida six months in and currently renting a home from invitation homes, ….

  20. John Rhodes says:

    This bldg was previously owned and ran by a housing authority for 33 yrs….

  21. Hi Kellymarie,
    Sorry if this is frustrating! However, we’re not allowed to answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat. (We removed your personal info in the comment for your privacy and protection.)

    Thanks,
    Larry

  22. Hi John,
    Sorry if this is frustrating! However, we’re not allowed to answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat. (We removed your personal info in the comment for your privacy and protection.)

    Thanks,
    Larry

  23. emerson kanode says:

    I am in the opposite position. I own and rent a condo. ….
    I am so stressed out it is not fair.
    Help, and Thanks!

  24. Hi Emerson,
    Hi Michael,
    Sorry if this is frustrating! However, we’re not allowed to answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat.
    (Your comment has been edited to protect your privacy.)
    Thanks,
    Larry

  25. Jeff M says:

    Hopefully you can answer this one. You stated in your article about mold and the tenants responsibility to notify the landlord as soon as mold is discovered. What you did not explain was whether a verbal or written notification, or both was required. Thank you.

  26. George says:

    my condo i am renting for the last 16 months has had water leak issues ….

  27. Hi George,
    Sorry if this is frustrating! However, we’re not allowed to answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat. (Your comment has been edited to protect your privacy.)
    Thanks,
    Larry

  28. Joe says:

    do theses laws fall in place with all dwellings, mobile homes , apartments, houses ??

  29. Nicole Calderon says:

    I really need advice and wanted to know if you could call me bcuz ….

  30. Hi Nicole,
    Sorry if this is frustrating! However, we’re not allowed to answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat. (Your comment has been edited to protect your privacy.)
    Thanks,
    Larry

  31. Magdalena says:

    I have a mold issue with my landlord, after nearly 4 weeks ….

  32. Hi Magdalena,
    Sorry if this is frustrating! However, we’re not allowed to answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat. (Your comment has been edited to protect your privacy.)
    Thanks,
    Larry

  33. Can I Sue My Landlord For Personal Injury | How To Claim Injuries says:

    […] Mold Claims by a Florida Tenant: Can You Sue the Landlord … – Posted By Larry Tolchinsky on April 22, 2014 Last Update: 02/10/16. In Florida, the leasing and renting of residential and commercial real estate is governed by … […]

  34. TR says:

    I am a veteran who shares a home with my girlfriend (in-law apartment) ….
    Most Respectfully
    TR

  35. Sorry if this is frustrating! However, we’re not allowed to answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat. (Your oomment has been edited to protect your privacy.)
    Thanks,
    Larry

  36. Can Tenant Sue Landlord Foreclosure | Rates for CPA Services for SMB says:

    […] Mold Claims by a Florida Tenant: Can You Sue the Landlord … – What Should You Do If There Is A Conflict Between The Seller and The Real Estate Agent? If you have a disagreement or there is some confusion between you, as a … […]

  37. Ryan B. says:

    Larry. I am a tenant who took over my fiancés dads apartment after ….

  38. Melissa says:

    HI larry,
    I have an inquiry and world like to speak with you. I left a message with a representative.please contact me.

  39. Hi Ryan,
    Sorry if this is frustrating! However, we’re not allowed to answer personal queries in blog post comments, so we ask that you give our office a call (see the toll free number above?) for a chat about your situation. Your comment has been edited to protect your privacy.
    Thanks,
    Larry

  40. Lesia Ambrose says:

    Is ther a button u push that has …. sorry we r not allowed to answer….lol

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