American Homes 4 Rent - Gross Negligence, Willful Misconduct, Intentional Infliction of physical, emotional and financial pain, Constructive Eviction, Violation of Florida Statute 83.49(3)
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Original review updated by user Aug 19, 2021
We rented a house in Apopka Florida from the end of February 2014 through July 31, 2020. We had signed a lease for 8/1/2020-7/31/2021, but due to AH4R negligence we had to move out, as the house became uninhabitable due to a huge oak tree falling on it, that we had warned them repeatedly needed to be removed/addressed.
I want to make it clear that everything I state in this review is backed up by call logs with date/time/person spoken to and resolution/lack thereof, as well as emails, screenshots, pictures and many other sources that will come into play when applicable.
In October 2017 we noticed what appeared to be black mold growing on the baseboards and lower walls of the kitchen pantry, as well as a few other locations.
When I submitted the maintenance request to address this issue, I received an email from their maintenance coordinator stating that AH4R required pictures of the organic growth (as they termed it) before they would address the issue. The email also stated I had 72 hours to submit the evidence or else the case would be closed with no further action. A day later (a Saturday) I sent her the pictures and stated I would wait 3 days for an appointment to be made to address the mold issue. I then received communication that she could not open the email picture attachments and the case would be closed out.
On July 18, 2018, my daughter noticed standing water on the flooring of the family room and growth sprouting up between the laminate flooring planks. I immediately contacted the maintenance department and demanded the issue be addressed. For approximately the next 3 weeks we had to be available to let contractors into the home to remediate (actually, semi-remediate) the mold, pull up existing flooring, cut out drywall, rebuild the air handler support structure, run fans and moisture elimination devices 24/7, do without access to the space and be totally inconvenienced.
I sent emails in 2019 to address several issues and again, tried to get them to address the tree issue-any prudent individual could see this was an accident waiting to happen-not if, but when! A neighbor complained about the trees being a major concern due to dead branches so I reached out via email to them and I actually included the exact phrase of "I just want to go on record for the neighbors' complaint mainly, but also protect AH4Rs interests in the property as these WILL cause MAJOR damage".
Their response was to send my warning to the property manager and the Maintenance Representative. The follow-up? You guessed it-NONE! In May 2020 we were contacted about renewing our lease-without any monthly rent increase.
I responded that we really wanted to renew, but were extremely concerned about the huge oaks in the backyard causing structural damage and/or physical harm to the family. I also said, "I have tried to describe what could be a major catastrophic event to the maintenance department with possible liabilities involved to AH4R but have never received a response". Guess what-NO RESPONSE TO THE TREE ISSUE!
On 7/2/2020, while on the patio with my 2 dogs, I heard a loud crack and when I looked to my left I saw one of the huge oak trees falling directly towards our location on the patio. I reached down, grabbed my dogs by the collar and slid my chair (on casters, fortunately) away from the table I was sitting at as far back as possible.
I felt a pop in my left hip, but didn't really feel the pain at that time. I was able to avoid (what the arborist that showed up later said was an approximately 3-ton tree) from crushing myself and my dogs. After I could compose myself, I sent an immediate email to the AH4R property management team notifying them of the tree crushing the roof, branches sticking through parts of the ceiling inside the house and decimating the roof above where I had been seated. NO RESPONSE FROM ANY OF THE PEOPLE ON PROPERTY MANAGEMENT TEAM.
I then sent a maintenance request through the online portal and received an automated reply that they were working on finding the best vendor to address my "LANDSCAPING ISSUE". From 7/2/2020 at 2:51 P.M. through 7/3/2020 I received SEVEN different emails changing the name of the vendor that would be addressing the issues with different commitment times for responding AND including a warning if I wasn't available to meet the vendor, I might be responsible for charges!! As the water came through the ceiling from the tree penetration in multiple locations and insulation/wood/drywall splattered all around we were stuck calling maintenance and each time explaining and verifying who we were, what the issue was and pretty much being told NOTHING.
We had to get out of the rental home as soon as possible.
Verbal commitments were made by the District Manager at AH4R for Orlando and Miami markets about trying to subsidize our costs to move and working with us to get us into another AH4R home in the general area as well as the Leasing Manager saying he would send us a list of properties to explore. We were provided ONE listing and absolutely NO assistance with costs other than agreeing to wave our rent for the month of July. This MAGNANIMOUS gesture didn't even begin to cover our loss of income for not being able to work due to their refusal to do what was right as opposed to doing what was more profitable! This contention will absolutely be addressed when we go to trial, as their behavior coincides with their online financial prospectus for investors.
I have held off filing this posting and pursuing a lawsuit due to COVID-19 issues, as I wanted to ensure that we receive an in person jury trial.
I have 2 law firms that have agreed to take our case on a contingency basis, but I am not sure If we are better off escalating this to a class action status or attempting to settle out of court and putting this behind us. I know we will prevail in our quest for justice. It is a shame AH4R can't show more humanity and compassion, but that is what big business in America has come to-profits above renters health/life.
I will wait 10 business days from the date of this posting for an acceptable response before bringing this to the next level. I have a feeling this will be a long, arduous battle, but hey, I have time and the law firms have the resources-we shall see, and I will update this post accordingly.
One last item-upon vacating the premises and not able to afford to take everything from the house that we wanted to, I took photos of the air duct vents in the house after removing the covers-THE MOLD WAS NEVER REMEDIATED FROM THE DUCTING SYSTEM and we continued breathing this due to their negligence.
User's recommendation: Abide by the terms of your lease, but document all correspondence and go into the agreement knowing that you are dealing with a Wall Street Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) that has profits over fairness as their main objective. KEEP YOUR DOCUMENTATION and be thourough!
Monetary Loss: $57000.
Location: Altamonte Springs, Florida
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