Vermin took over a waterfront condominium in Coral Gables, according to a lawsuit filed recently in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.
Justin Rundle, who owns a unit in Waters Edge of Coral Gables at 100 Edgewater Drive, is suing the previous owner Jeanie Fung, listing agent Francine Thomas and Coconut Grove-based brokerage Brown Harris Stevens | Avatar Real Estate Services, for breach of contract and several counts of fraud and negligence. The lawsuit also names the Waters Edge condo association, as well as inspection company Real Estate Management Co. and appraisal company Florida Estate Appraisals, as defendants.
Rundle, a Coconut Grove lawyer whose mother is Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, alleges Fung and Thomas knew about a rat infestation in the building and did not disclose the problem to him before the closing on July 14, 2016. Rundle paid $383,000 for the two-bedroom condo.
“The seller knowingly sold my client a lemon,” said Rundle’s attorney Josef Mysorewala. “He took drastic remediation efforts to save his unit and his neighbors from this pest problem.”
Fung could not be located for a response, while Thomas and managers for Avatar declined comment. Jacob Blacher, owner of Real Estate Management, and Alejandro Alvarez, owner of Florida Estate Appraisals, did not return messages seeking comment.
According to the lawsuit, Rundle began hearing noises throughout the night and noticed a noxious odor throughout the condo a few days after moving in. “Upon further investigation, plaintiff discovered that rodents had infiltrated the unit, leaving rotting carcasses, urine, feces and rodent nests throughout the walls, the drop ceiling and AC system,” the lawsuit states.
Rundle moved out on May 17 and would need to effectively rebuild the entire unit to get rid of the rodents and to fix the damage the unwanted animals caused, the lawsuit states. He subsequently learned that Fung had rented the unit in 2015 to tenants who discovered rodents running around the kitchen in October of that year.
“After several unsuccessful rodent removal efforts, the seller allowed the previous tenants to terminate their lease early and refunded their security deposit,” the lawsuit states. “Rather than make further attempts to repair the rodent infestation, the seller and the seller’s agent immediately listed the property for sale.”
Rundle claims Fung and Thomas violated Florida law by not telling him about the rodent problem and represented that the unit was in good condition. The lawsuit also accuses Real Estate Management and Florida Estate Appraisals of providing documentation that the unit did not have any material defects and was worth $383,000.
In addition to recouping the money he paid for the unit, Rundle is seeking damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, rental costs for a new apartment, and time, money and effort for ridding the apartment of its rodent problem.