Friends from Greenwich are renting a oceanfront home in southern Florida for two+ months. The kids and grandkids are coming in rapid succession. We weren’t invited to stay but that’s a blog post for another day. Anyway, Life was Good……..
Until they learned, two months before they left for Florida, that the vacant lot next door is no longer vacant!!
My friends rented this house a full year ago and it wasn’t until the end of December they were told a house was being built. Not just a house. A GIANT house that now blocks out a huge portion of their morning sunshine, not to mention the invasion of the construction workers looking over to the yard and pool while in the scaffolding or upstairs.
It’s not as if in December my friends (the renters) could pull away from the contract. There was no way they’d find a replacement rental so late for peak season, oceanfront with pool, lots of bedrooms all recently renovated. No way. They felt they had no choice other than to keep the lease and suck up and deal.
The ethical, and maybe legal, question becomes “what did the owner of the rental know and when”? Did he know a year ago that a house was to be erected and said nothing in the listing?
Did the owner learn of the building at the same time in December that my friends realtor told them construction was happening next door?
Should the owner, as soon as he knew a house would be in the middle of ongoing construction, have contacted my friends through their realtor or directly, to say, Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t know. If you want out, you can. No penalty. Have your deposit back.
Should the owner have offered a discount if my friends said we have no choice but to stay? Should they demand a discount?
Or is it just Tough Luck…. Welcome to The Totem Pole of Real Estate?
PS: A realtor from Greenwich and occasional commenter here who calls himself Mick, said he tried to comment but WordPress messed up his log-in, made a good point:
There is a legal expectation of “quiet enjoyment ” when you rent a property so I do believe the tenants would have some recourse in law.