Better Call Behnken: Seminole man finally out of lease after water leaked through ceiling, down walls

SEMINOLE, Fla. (WFLA) — A Seminole man is finally out of his apartment lease after water leaked inside and left the place smelling like mold.

John Hayden came home to find water gushing through his apartment ceiling and he thinks the place ended up reeking like mold. He turned to 8 On Your Side after he said management at Buena Vista Apartments refused to let him out of his lease two months early and did not offer to move him to another apartment.

After our report and a tip to put the apartment complex on notice to fix problems in the apartment, management has agreed to a settlement. Hayden can walk away without an eviction, and he will get his April rent back, since he was not able to live inside the apartment.

“I would like to let people know that they do have rights,” Hayden said.

Hayden said he couldn’t possibly stay inside the apartment.

“There was water coming from the ceiling, down the walls, the carpets were flooded. the light fixture was off,” Hayden said. “Immediately, I called maintenance. They didn’t really do much. They just vacuumed up some water and left.”

Maintenance came back with two blowers and a humidifier, and that was it, Hayden said.

Hayden called 8 On Your Side and we went to the property manager, Jerry. He blamed part of the problem, in part, on Hayden, saying he did not run the blowers and humidifier that maintenance set up in his apartment.

That is something Hayden said is not true. He claims he ran them for days and then stopped when he moved out of the apartment.

The manager told 8 On Your Side he would consider letting Hayden out of his lease and asked that he come back to the office at 5 p.m. But, when Hayden showed up, he said he was told he either had to pay his last two month’s rent or face eviction.

That was April 13. Something changed after Hayden sent his letter.

“Someone had a change of heart, and I am so glad they’re doing the right thing,” Hayden said.

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