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Are landlords responsible for mold and water damage?

by | Jun 9, 2021


Currently, there are no specific mold laws in Florida. Some local housing codes may include such wording, but it will not be systematic. However, landlords must abide by the so-called “implied warranty of habit­ability,” meaning that they have a responsibility to provide safe and livable housing to tenants. Importantly, a responsibility to maintain the integrity of a property is not the same thing as being legally liable in a personal injury lawsuit arising from mold exposure.

For tenants who simply have mold in their units that they want removed, the first line of defense in Florida is the Landlord-Tenant Act (83.51, Fl. Statutes), which requires landlords to comply with applicable building, housing, and health codes, and to:

maintain the roofs, windows, 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.

A secondary shield for tenants against intransigent landlords is section 468.84 ff., Fl. Statues, which regulates the licensing of professional mold remediators. According to this statute, anyone hired to conduct mold inspection or mold remediation must maintain specialty licenses from the state. This improves the likelihood that mold assessment and remediation will be done properly. It also means that landlords aren’t allowed to bring in a cheaper contractor or do the mold remediation themselves, unless they have such a license.

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