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Do I have grounds to sue my landlord because he rented me an illegal apartment and now I am forced to move?

Ormond Beach, FL |

I have rented an apartment from a licensed real estate company for 5 yrs now. I recently learned it was illegally constructed by the real estate company and I turned them into the city after they begged me not to. It was a single family home converted into a duplex. There is no fire wall plus several other things that are hazardous. Since I am forced to move now and it has disrupted my life, do I have a possible lawsuit against the real estate company that built it? They have been lying to me for 5 yrs about everything being built to code. No permits or codes from the city were used in the construction and now the unit is being investigated by the city. They did this knowingly and with no regard for my safety. They just took my money.

Attorney Answers 2


The answer to this question is going to depend on your contract with your landlord as well as the landlord/tenant laws existing in your state. I would recommend finding an attorney in FL who practices in the area of landlord/tenant law so he or she can help you determine whether you might have a claim against your landlord.

Tasha Taylor is an attorney with Taylor & Taylor Law Firm, P.A. in Little Rock, Arkansas. There is no attorney/client relationship formed by your use of this site or by anything stated by Ms. Taylor herein. If you are interested in hiring Ms. Taylor to work with you, you can contact her through this site. Please be advised that by contacting Ms. Taylor, there is no attorney/client relationship formed.

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While it sounds like the real estate company could be liable to you for their misrepresentations, the real difficulty will be proving damages. Damages appear to be minor since you have been able to live in the apartment, you have not received any personal injuries as a result of the code violations, and you can find another place to rent. Are you able to rent another apartment for roughly the same amount? If you decide to sue, you might try to ask the Court for any difference in rent, along with your moving expenses. In Florida, you can bring a small claims action for a claim in the amount of $5,000 or less, which might be an option.

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Well there was a fire a couple of years ago and a neighbor put it out. Since there is no fire wall we could have burned alive. We have found a new place but are out about $3K. We have withheld the rent and now he is trying to have us evicted.

Todd Matthew Rich

Todd Matthew Rich


I am sorry to hear about your situation. I would recommend finding an attorney in your area of Florida, to assist in defending the eviction and possibly pursuing the $3,000. If money is an issue, you may want to search for free legal aid organizations in your area. Oftentimes, they handle landlord-tenant disputes. The Florida Bar can also assist in helping you.

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