Abominable Snowman & the Rental Unit A/C

The Abominable Snowman rented a place in Florida one summer, eager to check out the beach and what everybody saw in those tourist billboards up North. “No pets,” was the first thing Larry the Landlord said when he got a look at Mr. Abominable. After they got over the issue of the Abominable Snowman being the renter himself and not a pet, and after they got over the negotiation of an extra security deposit to cover hair removal from the drains, Larry the Landlord and the Abominable Snowman signed a lease agreement. One night the Abominable Snowman was in his rental unit having pizza with his southern cousin, the Swamp Ape, when suddenly the air conditioning cut out. “I got to go,” said the Swamp Ape, and he cut out faster than the A/C because he was wanted—everybody was always trying to post his picture and get an interview. The Abominable Snowman was furious and overheated, and he withheld rent for every day of the lease that he did not have air-conditioning. He went to court to raise a fuss, but because he had not paid his rent (not even into the Registry of the Court) he had no say […] Read More

Hot Rental

John Gorrie’s marble statue stands in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C. not because he saw Medusa—he invented air conditioning.  As a physician, he felt there was a medical need for chilled air when he came to Florida in 1833, and by 1851 he had a patent for an ice machine.  While air conditioning has made a huge impact on Florida real estate, A/C does not extend to renters’ rights. Renters are entitled to live in units with running water, electricity, garbage service, working elevators (if applicable), refrigeration, gas (if applicable), and heat, but despite Dr. Gorrie’s contribution, air-conditioning is non-essential on the list of legal requirements.  It is the hottest thing in Landlord-Tenant Law. If your air-conditioning stops working or if there are other defects with your rental unit, (1) PAY YOUR RENT ON TIME, (2) notify your landlord of the problem with a seven-day written notice sent preferably via certified mail, and (3) after seven days if the landlord has not fixed the problem, then you can withhold rent or leave tenancy; however, it is usually best to work out a deal. Good news for renters:  the courthouse is air-conditioned.  If you do wind up in court with […] Read More

Rental Unit A/C

Rental Unit A/C John Gorrie was a Florida physician in the 1800’s.  A school was named for him in Jacksonville (now a condo complex), and his statue is in the US Capitol—Gorrie is the inventor of Air Conditioning.   He came to Florida in 1833 and realized an acute need for chilled air.  By 1851, Gorrie had a patent for an ice machine.  Though Florida may be the homeland of refrigeration, air conditioning does not extend to renters’ rights the way other utilities do in the sunshine state. Renters are entitled to live in units with running water, electricity, garbage service, working elevators (if applicable), refrigeration, gas (if applicable), and heat, but despite Dr. Gorrie’s contribution, air-conditioning is non-essential on the list of legal requirements. If your air-conditioning stops working or if there are other defects with your rental unit, (1) PAY YOUR RENT ON TIME, (2) notify your landlord of the problem with a seven-day written notice sent preferably via certified mail, and (3) after seven days if the landlord has not fixed the problem, then you can withhold rent or leave tenancy; however, it is usually best to work out a deal. Good news for renters:  the courthouse is air-conditioned.  If […] Read More

What Is Hot in Landlord-Tenant Law

Bad news for renters:  the heat is on, but the A/C does not have to be.  Renters are entitled to live in units with running water, electricity, garbage service, working elevators (if applicable), refrigeration, gas, and heat, but air conditioning is non-essential on the list of legal requirements. Humans have occupied Florida about 11,900 years without air conditioning.  If your A/C unit goes out on your rented apartment, that does not constitute an emergency on behalf of your landlord.  You may just have to sweat it out. If your air conditioning stops working or if there are other defects with your rental unit, (1) PAY YOUR RENT ON TIME, (2) notify your landlord of the problem with a seven-day written notice sent preferably via certified mail, and (3) after seven days if the landlord has not fixed the problem, then you can withhold rent or leave tenancy; however, it is usually best to work out a deal. Good news for renters:  the St. Johns County Courthouse is air conditioned, and I imagine the new Duval County Courthouse will be too…if we ever get into it.  So if you do wind up in court with your landlord, at least you can […] Read More