Tenants’ Rights: What to Know About Wind and Water Damage

If you’re renting or leasing a space, you’re entitled to certain tenant rights including being provided a safe and suitable living space that is sheltered from wind, water, and other elements. But as a tenant, it can sometimes feel unclear as to who is responsible for taking care of certain repairs and damage, especially those resulting from a major storm or hurricane.

As a tenant in South Florida, here is what you need to know about your tenant rights:

Structural and exterior damage is the responsibility of the landlord.

Provided that you, as the tenant, do not cause structural damage to the property, your landlord is responsible for repairing and maintaining the physical integrity of the building, especially if the damage poses a safety hazard or well-being risk of any kind. This includes maintaining major exterior features such as the roof, foundation, windows, doors, drains, and pipes, among other structural components of the property.

Damage caused by “vis major” circumstances are the landlord’s responsibility.

“Vis major” is the legal term for damage resulting from uncontrollable force outside of human control. Acts of God, such as damage caused by force winds, flooding, or hurricanes are examples of “vis major” damage. If your property experiences wind and water damage due to a weather event or circumstance outside of one’s control, it is the landlord’s responsibility to repair the property and bring it back to sound structural integrity within a reasonable timeframe.

Understand your insurance coverage.

Renter’s insurance policies are anything but straightforward. Make sure you understand your policy and coverages, and don’t hesitate to call us with any questions about it. As a precautionary measure during storm season, it’s also important to review your existing coverage and document all of your personal property with photos and video. Review our hurricane checklist for other storm preparation tips and start documenting your property today.

If you feel like your tenant rights have been violated or do not feel safe and protected in your rented or leased property, call us at (305)735-3966. At Silverberg | Brito, PLLC, we offer free case evaluations and work closely with you to ensure your tenant rights are protected.


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