Real Estate Law (esp. Landlord-Tenant)/renter rights


Hello David,

     On October 1st of this year my 3 year old daughter and I moved into a condo. When I toured the condo before signing the lease everything was great. We got everything moved in and on the second day went grocery shopping when we got back to put the groceries in the fridge the stench of the fridge almost knocked me over. There were hundreds of phorid flies(gnats) in the fridge, some dead and some even alive. I informed the landlord and she said that she apologized the last tenant left meat in there and they found it before I moved in. She told me she cleaned it with bleach and thought it would of been fine. She told me it probably just needed one more bleaching. I immediately re-sanitized the fridge. I also noticed being in the condo for a few hours that there were phorid flies flying around the whole place. Not allot but enough to where they'd land on your food while eating or you would see them floating in your glass. The next day no difference, i cleaned the fridge again bought charcoal (every remedy you can think of#. Still had that smell of death. While all this was going on I also killed 3 huge American roaches in the kitchen. I told the landlord that the flies and roaches were too much for me and very unsanitary. She hired an exterminator to come and take care of the bugs. When he came he treated for roaches but told me that the flies were coming from the fridge and that unless the fridge went the gnats would always be around because he discovered they were breeding in the drip pan of spoiled meat juice underneath the fridge. Even cleaning the pan the stench will remain in the fridge. The landlord was upset about the fridge situation and hesitantly replaced the fridge. The exterminator also told me that the roaches had made a home there feasting off of dead flies under the fridge. To make a long story short the roaches never went away I find about 2-3 a day they are huge and sometimes i find egg casings and infant roaches on the carpet. My apartment is spotless! I'm living out of plastic bags every plate, fork etc is bagged up to keep them from crawling over things and contaminating. I am a nursing student and i know they are the worst vector for disease. I HAVE TAKEN A PICTURE OF EVERY SINGLE ROACH. The exterminator has come out 4 times and the last time he came he said either they must be coming from another apartment, or there must be something wrong with the building somewhere that they are getting in #a structure issue) or there are a lot of eggs in the walls from the fly situation. I am still living with roaches and the landlord sent me a text message saying that looks like there really isn't anything more she can do about the bugs so if i want to leave she will just break the lease. But I've only been there for 3 months and it'll cost me money to move and confusing to my child. Furthermore I like the condo, its a new condo and i don't understand. Don't they have to continue finding a way to get rid of them? What landlord would want them there? They'll just keep multiplying and I'm sure she'll rent it out to someone else and not tell them about the problem. I let the HOA property manager know about the bugs he had the property exterminator check the empty condo next to mine but didnt find an investation in that one. Do i have rights who can i call? I don't have money for an attorney I'm a single mom and student. FYI I'm in Florida. Please help me.

Hi Jacqueline,

If the landlord does not fix the problem, then you may be able to withhold a portion of the rent and fix it yourself.  But you must notify the landlord first and give them the opportunity to fix it.  Put everything in writing.  The landlord is required to provide you with a habitable premises.  This applies to CA law.  You'll want to consult FL law for any specifics relating to Florida.

Thanks for your question!

David Piotrowski
Attorney at Law

*No Attorney/Client Relationship and No Legal Advice -

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Real Estate Law (esp. Landlord-Tenant)

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David Piotrowski, Esq.


My landlord/tenant practice primarily assists California landlords with all aspects of the landlord/tenant relationship including leases, contract violations, non-payment of rent, and evictions. I can also advise, on a more general level, other real property issues.


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Juris Doctor (JD) and Member of the State Bar. Attorney.

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