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new lease - making me fix things

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I live in Chicago Illinois where we have a pretty good landlord/tenant ordinance. My landlord gave me my lease to renew and stated that any plumbing problems need to be fixed at my expense 'unless they are beyond the tenants control'. I spoke to them about this and they stated that everything worked when I moved in so there is no reason that they should have to make repairs. Since it is, by ordinance, their responsibility to keep up the apartment, is this an illegal clause in the lease that they couldn't enforce? FYI - I'm not planning on signing it.



having to fix things pre-existing problems

We are in Florida, and are having a similar problem. However, we started noticing the problems a week after we had moved in. We are speculating that one of our birds died from the paint fumes. This place has a "no pets" policy, but we discussed birds with the LL and she said they are not considered pets, only dogs and cats are pets. Is there anything we can do? the other birds didn't die, but the one that did was the youngest and most expensive. and there was no where we could have left them while the house was being aired out.

The house was freshly painted, and the fumes were still strong. After the fumes cleared a week later, the ants started coming out of the walls. We bought ant killer, and the pop out in another place. They come in through the windows, and any holes in the walls (ex: old holes from blinds, from the electrical outlets, and anywhere else they find). We have caulked the windows and most of the holes, but cannot find an appropriate means to get rid of them. They are starting to live in the computer!!

Recently, the toilet started leaking from the water shut off valve. we called the LL and it was taken care of, but the maintenance guy told me to tell her that he took an hour to fix it, which in truth only took 2 minutes. so now we are being charged $35 for the repair. (all he had to do was tighten the bolt) Plus when we flush the toilet, it seems like it has a mind of it's own. every third flush or so it backs up. even if it is just a bowl of water!!

Also, when it rains the wall starts leaking at the bottom. the wall is starting to buckle and nothing has been done about it so far, except for coming to look to see what the problem is-- when it is NOT raining.

we haven't checked the air conditioner yet, but it looks as if it's 30 years old or more and a big piece of rust!! my husband is afraid to turn it on!!

the main thing is, we were not told of these potential problems and although we are trying to get them fixed quickly, it is aggravating to get up one day and have several problems that were supposed to have been taken care of BEFORE we moved in. and we have only been here 2 months!!

what is uninhabitable by legal definitions? can someone refer me to a site that i may be able to look at more information regarding this situation...

thank you, Deborah Prentiss



GEEZ and you think i only am a pain in the butt!!!!

Florida Statues:

83.201 Notice to landlord of failure to maintain or repair, rendering premises wholly
untenantable; right to withhold rent.--When the lease is silent on the procedure to be
followed to effect repair or maintenance and the payment of rent relating thereto, yet
affirmatively and expressly places the obligation for same upon the landlord, and the landlord
has failed or refused to do so, rendering the leased premises wholly untenantable, the tenant
may withhold rent after notice to the landlord. The tenant shall serve the landlord, in the
manner prescribed by s. 83.20(3), with a written notice declaring the premises to be wholly
untenantable, giving the landlord at least 20 days to make the specifically described repair or
maintenance, and stating that the tenant will withhold the rent for the next rental period and
thereafter until the repair or maintenance has been performed. The lease may provide for a
longer period of time for repair or maintenance. Once the landlord has completed the repair or
maintenance, the tenant shall pay the landlord the amounts of rent withheld. If the landlord
does not complete the repair or maintenance in the allotted time, the parties may extend the
time by written agreement or the tenant may abandon the premises, retain the amounts of
rent withheld, terminate the lease, and avoid any liability for future rent or charges under the
lease. This section is cumulative to other existing remedies, and this section does not prevent
any tenant from exercising his or her other remedies.

83.51 Landlord's obligation to maintain premises.--

(1) The landlord at all times during the tenancy shall:

(a) Comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing, and health codes; or

(b) Where there are no applicable building, housing, or health codes, maintain the roofs,
windows, screens, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations, and all other
structural components in good repair and capable of resisting normal forces and loads and the
plumbing in reasonable working condition. However, the landlord shall not be required to
maintain a mobile home or other structure owned by the tenant.

The landlord's obligations under this subsection may be altered or modified in writing with
respect to a single-family home or duplex.

(2)(a) Unless otherwise agreed in writing, in addition to the requirements of subsection (1),
the landlord of a dwelling unit other than a single-family home or duplex shall, at all times
during the tenancy, make reasonable provisions for:

1. The extermination of rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs.
When vacation of the premises is required for such extermination, the landlord shall not be
liable for damages but shall abate the rent. The tenant shall be required to temporarily vacate
the premises for a period of time not to exceed 4 days, on 7 days' written notice, if necessary,
for extermination pursuant to this subparagraph.

2. Locks and keys.

3. The clean and safe condition of common areas.

4. Garbage removal and outside receptacles therefor.

5. Functioning facilities for heat during winter, running water, and hot water.

(b) Unless otherwise agreed in writing, at the commencement of the tenancy of a single-family
home or duplex, the landlord shall install working smoke detection devices. As used in this
paragraph, the term "smoke detection device" means an electrical or battery-operated device
which detects visible or invisible particles of combustion and which is listed by Underwriters
Laboratories, Inc., Factory Mutual Laboratories, Inc., or any other nationally recognized testing
laboratory using nationally accepted testing standards.

(c) Nothing in this part authorizes the tenant to raise a noncompliance by the landlord with
this subsection as a defense to an action for possession under s. 83.59.

(d) This subsection shall not apply to a mobile home owned by a tenant.

(e) Nothing contained in this subsection prohibits the landlord from providing in the rental
agreement that the tenant is obligated to pay costs or charges for garbage removal, water,
fuel, or utilities.

(3) If the duty imposed by subsection (1) is the same or greater than any duty imposed by
subsection (2), the landlord's duty is determined by subsection (1).

(4) The landlord is not responsible to the tenant under this section for conditions created or
caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant's
family, or other person on the premises with the tenant's consent.

History.--s. 2, ch. 73-330; s. 22, ch. 82-66; s. 4, ch. 87-195; s. 1, ch. 90-133; s. 3, ch. 93-255;
s. 444, ch. 95-147; s. 8, ch. 97-95.

83.52 Tenant's obligation to maintain dwelling unit.--The tenant at all times during the
tenancy shall:

(1) Comply with all obligations imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building,
housing, and health codes.

(2) Keep that part of the premises which he or she occupies and uses clean and sanitary.

(3) Remove from the tenant's dwelling unit all garbage in a clean and sanitary manner.

(4) Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant clean and sanitary
and in repair.

(5) Use and operate in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating,
ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances, including elevators.

(6) Not destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove any part of the premises or property
therein belonging to the landlord nor permit any person to do so.

(7) Conduct himself or herself, and require other persons on the premises with his or her
consent to conduct themselves, in a manner that does not unreasonably disturb the tenant's
neighbors or constitute a breach of the peace.

History.--s. 2, ch. 73-330; s. 445, ch. 95-147.


Senior Member
Tenant responsible for their own actions

From quote you provide, it looks as if the landlord is ONLY making you responsible for repairs if it was caused by your actions. In homes/SFRs, tenants are always made responsible for pipes, etc as they are under tenants' total control. In multi unit buildings, tenants are responsible up to the point where the unit plumbing meets the common line in the wall. If tenant causes the repair - stopped up toilet, too much paper, etc. - then tenant pays repair. Tree roots int he line to the street would be different. Basically, landlord is making tenant more responsible for their actions.

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