Saturday, December 24, 2016

Tenants In Central Florida Condo Complex Accuse HOA, Landlords Of Failing To Disclose Active Sinkholes Throughout Premises Prior To Signing Leases; One Ex-Renter On Having To Move Out: "I Feel Safer At Night Sleeping Knowing That I’m Not Going To Wake Up & My Front Door's Six Feet Above Me!"

In Tampa, Florida, WFTS-TV reports:
  • It's one of Floridians' worst nightmares... A sinkhole near your home.

    But what if your landlord knew about it and didn't tell you before you signed a lease?

    Several local renters say that’s exactly what happened to them.

    “The floors started dipping. it was pretty bad because it was right where my kids' beds were,” said Keith Sanders, who rented in apartment at the Manhattan Palms Condominium in West Tampa.

    “I worry a lot, because you don't know,” said Diana Frias, who also rents a unit at the complex.

    The condo's property management company sent a letter to owners describing "confirmed active sinkholes throughout the property" that "have been determined to be affecting the entire property".

    But records from the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's Office show about 80 percent of the units are filled with renters, not owners.

    “The landlord didn't tell nobody. Nobody knows nothing,” said Joshua Rosario, who rented a unit in the complex.

    When we visited the complex came to talk to renters, the management company told us to leave and referred us to their law firm. We reached out to their attorney multiple times, but he didn't call us back.

    The homeowner's association learned about the sinkholes more than five years ago. The HOA even filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against its insurance company, which refused to pay all the estimated repair costs.

    The renters we spoke to moved in after the lawsuit was filed. “That's something they should have told us before we moved in. I would have never signed the lease,” said Sanders. “I think they should put notices out,” said Rosario.

    “Someone could get hurt. Someone could get killed if the sinkhole opened up,” said attorney Kirk Eason.
    “I had to come up with money I didn't have, but I feel safer at night sleeping knowing that I’m not going to wake up and my front door's six feet above me,” said [the now ex-tenant] Rosario.
For more, see Renters said landlords failed to tell them about potentially dangerous sinkholes in their complex (Law says landlords must disclose if in their unit).