FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Sept. 10, 2015 – Question: I rented a house in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that turned into a money pit. It had plumbing and air conditioning issues. I ended up putting $15,000 into the house and later moved out after the landlords doubled the rent. I want to be repaid some of the money I spent, but the landlords refused and sent me nasty texts and emails. Help. – Lisa
Answer: Did your landlords agree in writing to credit or reimburse you for the money you spent improving the property? If not, I think you’ll need to just chalk this up to an expensive lesson learned.
I can’t say it enough times: Make sure all dealings between landlord and tenant are in writing. Verbal permission is difficult to prove, so always get it in writing.
Read your lease and abide by it. Most leases will not let you do work or make changes to the house without written consent from the landlord. Your landlord could have terminated the lease and evicted you just for making the changes without permission.
If your landlord is not fixing major problems, you may be able to cancel the lease. But you can’t just decide to repair or improve your rental on your own and expect to be reimbursed for the work.
About the writer: Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He is the chairperson of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is an adjunct professor for the Nova Southeastern University Paralegal Studies program.
The information and materials in this column are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in this column is intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.
Copyright © 2015 Sun Sentinel, Gary M. Singer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.