Investigates: “We heard a big boom”: Jacksonville renter’s ceiling caves in under weight of heavy rain

INVESTIGATES: Ceiling collapse prompts renter concerns

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville mother was at her Northwest Jacksonville home Monday night, when they heard a “big boom” come from her 15-year-old daughter’s bedroom.

Teleshia Jones opened the door to see the ceiling caved in, leaving a hole and debris scattered on the floor.

“Thank God [my daughter] wasn’t home because it would be a big problem,” Jones told Action News Jax’s Robert Grant.

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She rents the home from Lifestyle Rentals, which has an office based on Blanding Boulevard in West Jacksonville.

She signed the lease in June of 2019, and said a leaking ceiling has been an ongoing problem in both bedrooms and the kitchen.

She showed Action News Jax a work order to have the problem fixed in August 2020, which was completed.

However, she said it was only a temporary fix and she’s never seen it this bad.

“If it rains again — this is all coming down. It’s over,” she said.

Jones added that someone was out at the home Monday to put a tarp over the roof before Monday night’s strong storms.

The ceiling caved in around 11 p.m. Monday, according to Jones, who put in a work order Tuesday morning to have it fixed.

Action News Jax went to Lifestyles Rentals front office and asked how long it would take before someone went out to look at the damage.

A receptionist said they were aware of the problem, but she was not in charge of scheduling.

After our visit, Jones said a repairman came to clean up the debris and placed a plastic covering over the hole.

Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson said under Florida law, renters have the right to a “structurally sound” living arrangement.

He said if your rented space becomes uninhabitable, you should give written notice to your landlord explaining the problem.

A landlord then has seven days to fix the problem.

If it isn’t fixed, then renters have the right to break a lease, according to the Florida Bar.

Renters can also request another place to stay while work on the building is being completed.

Jones’ lease is up in June.

“I just want to go at this point,” she said.

She told Action News Jax she would put in written notice of the problem Wednesday, which allows Lifestyle Rentals up to a week to fix the problem.