Pricey Palm Harbor home rental brings nightmare to tenants, lawsuit to landlord

in Local Courts by

After spending a year in a $7,650-a-month home rental, a couple is suing their landlord, claiming the house is falling apart.

Jeramie Concklin and his wife, Honor, moved into the 7,600-square-foot rental in Palm Harbor Jan. 15, 2016.

Now, Mr. Concklin is suing the landlord to terminate the lease and get a refund of the money spent suing him. The suit was filed Dec. 14, 2016.

However, the original landlord, Kamal Nasser, deeded the home to his son, Rifaat Kamal Al-Nasser in late September. Al-Nasser was set to take over as landlord, creating a new lease.

Nasser asked for the lease to state it was from Jan. 1, 2015, but the Concklin’s did not wish to be part of a fraudulent contract. The couple refused to sign.

When they first viewed the house in October 2015, Nasser told the couple he was in the process of completing improvements on the pool house and completing construction of a tree house. He guaranteed everything would be completed in time for them to move in. The Concklin’s signed a two-year lease in November.

Per the lease, their move-in date was set for Dec. 1, 2015; rent was set at $5,900.

On Nov. 8, Nasser informed the Concklin’s that the property wouldn’t be ready until Jan. 1, 2016, asking to change the lease to fit the new date. They reluctantly agreed.

After coming to an agreement on the home’s furnishings, both parties agreed to rent the home for $7,500, including furniture.

An updated lease, including these changes, was sent to the Concklin’s Nov. 26. Nevertheless, Nasser made minor changes and requested the couple come to the home Dec. 2 to sign the finalized lease.

The new tenants were prohibited from inspecting the home but were assured there were only minor improvements to complete, and everything would be done by the time they moved in.

When they finally moved in, the Concklins a cockroach infestation, the pool house wasn’t completed, the tree house hadn’t been started, the master bedroom ceiling fan wasn’t working, shower doors and curtain rods were missing from all bathrooms, and four bedrooms were missing mattresses.

Shortly after moving in, the air conditioner in the master bedroom stopped working. The unit was replaced with a new unit that leaked water, causing water damage and mold to grow throughout the room. The following months yielded three more units to either flood or stop working. The company working on the air conditioners informed the Concklin’s that they would not make any more repairs until Nasser paid the balance on the account.

Water stains were found in the home. When Nasser was told of the issue, he told the tenants he would paint over them.

The lease also included lawn and pool service. For months, the pool water was green, and the lawn was suffering.

The Concklin’s have paid over $100,000 in rent throughout the 11 months living in the home.

In November, they wrote to Nasser asking for repairs to be made or rent would be withheld. Although contractors and experts came to make estimates, Nasser hired handymen to fix the mold, water pressure, roof damage and other issues.

Because the work wasn’t completed by December, rent was withheld. Nasser attempted to evict the tenants Dec. 10. The notice was taped to their door and requested payment be made by Nov. 6, 2016, more than a month before the eviction notice was given.

Legally, Florida tenants can withhold rent when notice is given under certain circumstances.

Mrs. Concklin is the lawyer of record in the suit.