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  1. #1
    mldwpb is offline Junior Member
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    What happens if house I'm renting is condemned?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Florida

    I will attempt to make this as brief as possible. We are a family of four, including 2 children (one 2.5, one 6 months). We are renting a single-family house that the owner currently has for sale. It is an old house (built in the 40's) with wood floors and wood frame. It is INFESTED with termites. They swarm us by the hundreds at night and on some awful nights it has been in the thousands. There are large holes in the wood floors that we have to avoid for fear of twisting an ankle (due to the termites, the holes are filled with termite droppings). I am concerned about the roof and wall structures. I spend about two hours a day cleaning up live termites, dead termites, termite wings and termite droppings.

    We have approached the landlord about this several times, including in writing, but her response remains (essentially) she does not want to put any more money into the house before it sells, the new buyer will just have to tear down and rebuild from the ground up (yes, she really said this).

    After a couple of bad nights of swarms and picking a termite out of my 6 months old's mouth I got mad. My city has a website that allows users to file a code complaint online. I filed one online today at 1:30 PM. At 2:15PM the code enforcement manager arrived at my house. He was here to do a prelim inspection, said that the house was awful and was going to have to come back with 3 more inspectors and a police officer to approach the landlord. He left things pretty vague but said there are multiple code violations and is very concerned about my family's safety. Now I fear the house could be condemned because in addition to the structural damage, there are electrical and other issues.

    If the house is condemned and we have to leave, is our landlord responsible for paying costs for our family to live someplace else since she refused to make any repairs? What specifically is she liable for?

    Thank you for any answers you can provide.
  2. #2
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    You may be given order to move immediately. Owner may be given a period of days or weeks to demolish the house and if he fails to do so, the city will demolish it and bill the landlord.
  3. #3
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    That is SO GROSS. Why haven't you moved yet?

    If you are on a term lease, landlord will owe you penalties for failing to uphold your lease. if you are month to month, he will owe you fewer penalties.

    But seriously, get the hell out of there! Go stay at a hotel until you find a new place. When all is said and done, you can add the bill to the list of damages you are suing him for.
  4. #4
    Cvillecpm is offline Senior Member
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    Cool

    The "city" will have the electric company REMOVE your electric meter and you will have to leave without notice if the property is condemned...start packing.
  5. #5
    MIRAKALES is offline Senior Member
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    Tenants will be required to vacate immediately when (or if) the house has been declared uninhabitable by the local building inspector. Due to the infestation of termites, the premises can no longer be occupied or may not be habitable. Therefore, the LL will be within the guidelines of lease agreement (and law) to request that tenants vacate premises immediately. The LL may (not automatic) be responsible for the cost of tenant’s moving and relocation expenses through their property insurance. LL would be directly responsible for return of security deposit and any pro-rated unused rent per diem, according to the law. By no stretch would LL be liable for tenants new rental expenses.

    Review the lease agreement in the section entitled “government, municipal” or “ordinances, statutes.”
    The LL will not be responsible for the remainder of the lease agreement.
  6. #6
    mldwpb is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for everyone's help

    Thank you everyone for your quick responses, they were very informative. This might sound ignorant, but I didn't realize that condemned buildings must be torn down [ I thought they required the LL to quickly remedy the situation(s.)] I will begin preparing for that possibility today. Part of me feels bad for the LL, since it seems that is the direction this situation is going. I know she didn't remedy the situation, but I didn't realize her house could be torn down as a result.

    I know that it is a disgusting situation, but our financial situation simply didn't allow for us to continue paying our rent, utilities and other bills and coming up with F/L/S for a new place. I am actually in the process of looking for a night job just for that purpose (I'm a stay-at-home mom and my husband works during the day), but I just began filling out applications last week. We do own our car outright, though, and ican take a title loan out on that so that we can get into a new place quickly, if we have to.

    Once again, thanks so much for the knowledgeable responses everyone provided. At least I can be prepared for whatever lies ahead.

    Michelle
  7. #7
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    I don't think this problem CAN be remedied except by tearing the place down.
  8. #8
    Mrs. D is offline Member
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    A little off-topic, but only take a title loan out on your car if you have absolutely, positively NO other solution. The interest rates on those things are outrageous, and if you're already hard up, this is only going to put you further in the hole. I would contact your landlord about an early return of your security deposit and last month's rent (obviously you're not going to be living there when that happens, since the house probably won't be there). It's not like she can take anything out of your deposit, really. What, replace the carpet before the house is torn down? I don't think so. She put you in a terrible situation, allowed your children to live in a dangerous and unfit home, the least she can do is return the money she's going to owe you anyway NOW so that you can move. Legally, the home is not habitable, therefore the lease is unenforceable and should be terminated immediately and all deposits returned. Appeal to her as a human, then bust out the legal mumbo-jumbo if she refuses any help at all. And maybe your new landlord would take first/security and wait a month or so for last if they knew what your situation was. It never hurts to ask.
  9. #9
    mldwpb is offline Junior Member
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    Mrs D: You are right, the interest rate on title loans are outrageous! I've been doing some research this morning and it is expensive! It might end up being our last resort, though, because when we moved in the LL only asked for first months rent. In lieu, of deposit we cleaned the house (it was trashed from prior tenants), painted the interior, installed new light fixtures and cabinet hardware and installed carpet in the bedrooms (my husband is a flooring installer).

    In other recent developments, I recently received a message from the city code manager that this house did not have an active occupation license, meaning the landlord should never have rented it out in the first place. I'm sure the reason for this is because the house would never pass the required inspection. This just further my fears that we are going to be put out very suddenly.

    But as someone suggested, perhaps a new landlord will work with us after learning about the situation and why we are looking for immediate housing.

    Thanks again to everyone for your insightful and educated responses!
    Michelle
  10. #10
    Mrs. D is offline Member
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    Any chance you documented the work you did in lieu of deposit? Since the home was not legally rented, you might be able to make a claim against the landlord for unpaid work. If she put in the lease that you were doing work in lieu of deposit, that would be sufficient, I would think. Considering the situation you're in, you may also want to research charitable organizations that help people get a place to live. With a stable history of paying rent/other bills, I doubt any of these organizations would blink at lending you security/last month's rent for a while. Also, if you're credit is not tanked, you may try getting a personal loan from a bank (or a credit union, they're generally more forgiving). Rates are pretty reasonable (generally <10%), and they're a better bet than title loans. Heck, writing a check from a high-interest credit card is better than a title loan. And again, if you offer a written agreement to pay a new LL last and security over a period of a few months, they may be willing to help. Despite what you see in many places, there are decent human beings out there.
  11. #11
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    One thing that can be asked of the inspections dept that no one mentions is if for example they write a condemn order and gave you 7 days to vacate in some places citys will extend the time given to vacate when the tenant needs it. Consider asking the city for a extension depending on how much time they grant you to vacate. MAKE sure to get a copy of the condemn order that tells you to vacate and search your city /county ords & state laws to learn if deposit returns are sped up when a condemn order is in place. BTW If deposit returns are not sped up when a condemn order happens do not hesitate to file suit in small claims court to get it back using the condemn order as the basis for full refund.
  12. #12
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. D View Post
    if you offer a written agreement to pay a new LL last and security over a period of a few months, they may be willing to help. Despite what you see in many places, there are decent human beings out there.

    Replace stupid or naive with decent and you would be right. Most LL's will be able to cite that one time when they took partial payment on the SD and never saw the rest of the money. Some will also tell you how the tenant vacated the premises and left the apartment in shambles when the LL pressed them for the SD. LL's are running a business for profit.

    OP has to contact the city to see if they have some sort of funds available for people in her circumstances.
  13. #13
    mldwpb is offline Junior Member
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    Quick update...

    Hi everyone. Just wanted to update you on this situation. Most of you will not be at all surprised to learn that the city plans to demo the house. However, they were really kind to us about it. The Inspection Manager came back with the Chief Fire Inspector. After a 30 minute inspection they came to us and said, "This is off the record, but we are approaching you as humans, this house is too far gone to be repaired. The only solution is a demo. This is not happening right now, we are just telling you because we will have to move quickly with this and we want you to look for a new place to live right away." So, that is what I'm working on now and trying to find out about any programs that may assist (had to leave lots of messages).

    Anyway, once again, thanks to everyone for your advice! It was right on and I was prepared when they broke the news to us yesterday.

    Thanks,
    Michelle
  14. #14
    HuAi is offline Member
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    In my city, landlord is not allowed to collect rent on an apartment that doesn't have a certificate of occupancy, and would in fact have to return all the back rent. Check with your city hall for regulations on that.

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