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Is it lawful for a landlord to refuse to sign a lease due to a misdemeanor charge from 3 yrs ago?

New Port Richey, FL |

My family moved into out apt complex 2 yrs ago. We have never been late with our rent, nor had any problems, etc. A new management company has taken over our complex in January, the middle of our lease. Our downstairs neighbors were evicted because they were hoarding different types of animals, and the apt was overcomed with fleas. I'm 8 months pregnant & being bit daily w/ fleas, management has sent the Orkin guy here, same problem continues. She said we should move to a new renovated apt, we filled out a lease application, was denied based on my husbands misdemeanor arrest for simple assault from Pennsylvania, that occurred 3yrs ago. Now management feels like we need to move, although our lease is not up till November, because they refuse to continue to pay for pest control.

Attorney Answers 2


If you have a lease agreement with management that ends in November, the leasing company must honor that agreement. They cannot force you to leave before the expiration of the lease agreement.

Under the Florida Statute, the landlord must rent a dwelling that is fit to live in, which means that the landlord must make sure that the apartment is free of pests. From what you just wrote, it appears that the landlord is trying to force you to move out before the end of the lease term, which is not allowed.

I recommend that you go to an attorney ASAP. Since you are 8 months pregnant, the fleas can pose a serious health hazard to you and for your soon-to-be-born child.

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I recommend that you review Florida Statute 83.51, which outlines the obligations a landlord has to maintain a rental property. If you are in an apartment, usually the apartment complex is responsible for pest control. Section 83.51 (2)(a) states "unless otherwise agreed in writing" the landlord of a dwelling other than a single family home or duplex must make reasonable provision for: (the control of various pests listed).

If you did not agree to be responsible for pest control in your lease agreement, then your landlord must provide it. Your landlord cannot also not unilaterally terminate your lease unless you are in some form of breach of the terms of the lease. Even then, your landlord must give proper notice to your and cannot resort to self-help to evict you. I recommend that you consult with a local landlord/tenant attorney to review your lease and possibly draft a 7 day notice to your landlord demanding that the pest problem be resolved.

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