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I'm in somewhat of a nightmare situation, where the property I am renting is currently under heavy construction, rendering many of the amenities I pay for inaccessible.

Specifically, the pool, fitness center, and dog parks are all cordoned off because they're under construction. The dog parks and pools have been closed since January, the fitness center since March. These amenities were available at one time and are even advertised on their website ("[lounging] poolside" isn't possible, unless you like being undressed in an active construction site, and "the outdoor yoga deck of our resident fitness center" doesn't even exist).

There are likely other amenities that are unavailable, but I only used the three above.

Do I have any legal ground to request a rent rebate for the amenities since they have been unavailable for so long?

Additional information from the lease itself: There is little mention of the added amenities, save for the Limitations on conduct section. It reads:

Any swimming pools, saunas, spas, tanning beds, exercise rooms, storerooms, laundry rooms, and similar areas must be used with care in accordance with apartment rules and posted signs.

  • What exactly does the lease say about these facilities? – user6726 Jun 21 '17 at 14:07
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    Further to @user6726's comment, most leases I've seen explicitly mention that the amenities are incidental and their unavailability doesn't entitle the lessee to a reduction in rent. You can always request a rent rebate, however. Even if you're not legally entitled to it, the landlord might agree. In addition to the language of the lease, you might consider that the advertising was misleading and the landlord might want to avoid potential trouble on those grounds -- even if you would lose in court, he may want to avoid your suing him in the first place. – phoog Jun 21 '17 at 14:13
  • Good comments. I'll check shortly and edit my question to include the language in the lease verbatim. – sleddog Jun 21 '17 at 15:35
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If the lease had asserted that the complex "comes with" a pool and so on, and that as a tenant you have a right to use the facilities (with some wording about guests using the facilities), then you might have a contractual claim. But such privileges are typically expressed contingently, i.e. "any such areas that are available", and the contract does not promise to make such areas available. If a contract specifies a particular "rate" being paid for access to the pool (e.g. "there is an obligatory $50/month pool charge"), that would be a concrete basis for a rebate based on not providing a service or facility that was in some sense promised.

The lack of specific promissory language in the lease undermines any legal claim that you would have for a rebate. It is reasonable to expect that a complex with a pool means that you can use the pool and that the pool will be maintained, but it's also reasonable to know that things get closed for various reasons (repair, complaints from neighbors, health code violations, liability concerns, runaway expenses).

Another approach is the advertising perspective: if the complex was advertised deceptively, that would be a problem. It is not deceptive to imply that they have or will have a dog park if they have a dog park (which gets closed), but it would be deceptive if they didn't have a dog park and had no intention of creating one. It wold not be deceptive if they intended to construct one and they discovered that they couldn't, for some insurance reason. The Florida law which governs this reduces to saying "Unfair methods of competition, unconscionable acts or practices, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful", and then refers the reader (judge interpreting the law) to their intent to give due consideration to the Federal Trade Commission Act (because they don't say what counts as a deceptive or unfair practice). Probably the most relevant regulations are 16 CFR 238. There are prohibitions against "an alluring but insincere offer to sell a product or service which the advertiser in truth does not intend or want to sell", and it is a rule that "No advertisement containing an offer to sell a product should be published when the offer is not a bona fide effort to sell the advertised product". Failing to provide an implied service would not constitute deceptive advertising. By FTC policy, an ad or practice is unfair if "it causes or is likely to cause substantial consumer injury which a consumer could not reasonably avoid". The impediments to a suit on grounds of unfairness are showing substantial injury and unavoidability.

  • The Amenities page, for reference: axisatonepine.com/apartments/fl/plantation/amenities While some of these have been available prior to the renovations, most of them haven't existed yet, and the language doesn't use a future tense. Instead of "You >will be able to< lounge poolside" they say "You >can< lounge poolside", and "Community Amenities" instead of "Planned/Future Community Amenities." – sleddog Jun 21 '17 at 20:42

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