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How long does a landlord have to get rid of roaches in Florida?/Can I break my lease because of roaches in Florida? Part I

Posted by Debi Rumph | Sep 01, 2023 | 2 Comments

Introduction

Dealing with pest control issues with your landlord in Florida can be quite complex. Unlike straightforward time frames, such as 5 or 10 days, the answer to this question depends on several factors. These include the type of rental property, the terms of your lease agreement, Florida's laws, and the solution you seek. Through this article, we will delve into these factors and provide valuable insights on (1) determining the rights of both you and your landlord regarding roaches and (2) estimating the expected time for your landlord to eliminate the roaches.

Understanding the Obligation of Pest Control under Florida Law

Fla. Stat. s. 83.51(2)(a) deals with the issue of pest control.  That's easy enough.  However, admittedly, this is one of the most confusing provisions under the Florida Landlord and Tenant Act.  It starts with the premise that a landlord has the obligation to "exterminate roaches."  However, it also provides that if the tenant rents a single-family home or duplex, the landlord and tenant can make an agreement otherwise.

Fla. Stat. s. 83.51Accordingly, to determine the landlord's responsibilities for roaches, one must analyze how Fla. Stat. s. 83.51(2)(a) intersects with the lease agreement and with the type of rental that the roaches are inhabiting.

The Statute Governing The Landlord's Obligation to Provide Adequate Pest Control: Fla. Stat. s. 83.51(2)(a)

Florida Statutes, specifically, Fla. Stat. s. 83.51(2)(a) determines which landlords are responsible for roach extermination. Only those landlords who have rented you a a single-family home or duplex and who have not got you to agree to provide for your own pest control, are responsible for evicting the roaches.  However, you have been properly delegated the obligation of pest control, as allowed by Fla. Stat. s. 83.51(2)(a), there is a good chance your landlord has no obligation to get rid of the roaches. (However, in some circumstances, we have been able to argue just that based on equitable principles, good faith, etc, and by utilizing non-obvious legal arguments).  This is why it is imperative to understand your lease before you sign it and not to agree to undertake the obligation of keeping the landlord's rental property pest-free.

Lease Agreement and Tenant's Rights

When it comes to pest control as a tenant, your lease agreement is crucial. It may include clauses that assign the responsibility of pest extermination to you, or require you to report pest issues to your landlord in a specific manner. It's important to review your lease agreement carefully to understand your rights and your landlord's obligations. This way, you can avoid signing up for the obligation of exterminating pests for your landlord, and potentially being sued later for inadequate pest control. So, make sure to understand your lease before signing it.

Determine Who Has Superior Rights:  You or the Roaches?

If you're renting a property in Florida, it's important to know your rights when it comes to dealing with pests. Whether your landlord is responsible for getting rid of roaches will depend on the type of property you're renting and the terms of your lease agreement. It's best to consult a knowledgeable attorney who can assess your circumstances and argue on your behalf. Assuming that your landlord is responsible for addressing roaches, our next article will explore timelines. If you need guidance on dealing with your landlord, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We provide options for tenants like you and invite you to complete our online form to learn more or contact us today.

About the Author

Debi Rumph

The Law Offices of Debi V. Rumph and Debi's Tenant Clinic Corner About Us Since July 2005, The Residential Realty Law Firm provided a wide range of legal services as it related to home ownership. However, on July 1, 2012, The Residential Realty Law Firm became the Law Offices of Debi V. Rumph. Debi pr...

Comments

Laurel Reply

Posted Oct 20, 2023 at 03:04:54

Good Morning, I signed a 1 year lease on a family home in Florida on the 18th and upon going to the home the next evening I find roaches everywhere. The lease states the tenant must exterminate the interior and exterior upon moving out but clearly that was not done so what is he only agreeing to One Treatment! I’d like to get out of this lease! Please help, just paid 4K yesterdays

Debi Rumph Reply

Posted Oct 20, 2023 at 10:40:51

Laurel:

We are sorry that this happened to you. In situations like this, I look for ways for my clients to immediately reject the rental premises—and not move anything into the home.

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