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Patricia Lashley
  • Investor
  • Tampa, FL
7
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14
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How do I get this man out of my house quickly and legally?

Patricia Lashley
  • Investor
  • Tampa, FL
Posted Feb 9 2024, 01:33

I need help.

My tenant in FL is still in our house even though the lease ended Jan 31, and he has not paid rent since Sep 1, 2023.

I served a 3-day notice at the beginning of Dec but did not follow up with eviction as I was way too nice and decided to allow him and his 4 very young children to live out the holiday season in the house.

I sent him a letter at the beginning of January, telling him I was not renewing the lease because he had not paid rent in forever, owed money and he needed to leave by Jan 31. I never heard from him until late on 31st, saying by text that he would be out on Sunday night (Feb 4th).

I live 2 hours away but our son who lives only an hour away, drove there Sun night to find that some stuff had been moved but there was a ton of stuff all over the outside, lots of stuff still inside and the tenant not present. A phone call determined that the tenant was "in the process of moving" and planned to sleep in the house that night but would have his stuff all gone by the next day. Somewhere in all his talking I heard the phrase "most of my stuff" by Monday/Tuesday. I was firm and said I needed him gone by Monday. Our son called him on Monday to arrange for final walk through, and when he mentioned that he would be expecting the keys and planned to change the locks, our tenant got a bit upset and then said he would not be out until Tuesday. We told him we would give him an extra day but would be there on Wednesday to walk through, collect the keys, secure the house etc. He agreed to meet up at the house at 7pm.

At 7pm, he was at his children's practice he said, when he finally answered the phone 90 minutes later, his stuff was still all over the inside (seen through the windows) and all over the outside. He was not even pretending by then. He announced that he planned to sleep at the house with his four very young children that night. My son sat in his car in the driveway letting me know what was going on, and our tenant walked up to the car said he was not playing games, his children were hungry, he was hungry and he was leaving with them, to get something to eat. And he drove off.

I called the sheriff but of course the officer that was dispatched never showed but called me up on the phone instead to say he was not going to intervene and I needed to evict.

Here are the facts. Tenant is a vet, has a temper, has 4 young children. Moved in Aug 2021 on a year's lease, renewed in 2022 for a year and renewed in 2023, only for 6 months because when the lease expired, he owed 3 months rent. I bent over backwards to work things out with him, gave him time to catch up etc. He was caught up in July/August because he got help from a vet org that paid his back and current rent. At their urging, I renewed the lease at that time, but only for 6 months because of the poor history of paying. He paid September's rent on time, then excuses, stories, not answering the phone, not communicating etc. I stuck a 3-day notice at the beginning of December and did not follow up because he spoke to my son saying he had nowhere to go etc. and I said I would allow him to stay because of the children, until the end of December.

He is beyond taking advantage of my "niceness". I am 69, if that makes a difference and husband is 69. House is in both our names.

My questions:

Since he is there without a lease, is there anything I can do to get him out as soon as possible besides going to the courthouse (2 hours away) and filing eviction paperwork? Frankly, I need this house rented as soon as possible and bringing in income. It has been beyond difficult paying the mortgage without income all these months.

If I am going to have to file in the courthouse for eviction, do I need to serve the 3-day notice all over again?

How do I file for eviction (which I know how to do) and also file to get all my back rent (which I do not know how to do)? I had intended to let it go but not now that he is still there and does not appear to care, was rude to our son, keeps breaking his word to get out and now we are well into February - yet another month without rent. 

He paid the last month's rent when he moved in as well as a deposit of $1400. Rent is more than $1400. He also pays a pool care fee every month and $50 for water, as he could not get the account in his name when he first moved in. I have been paying those, along with the mortgage, out of pocket and it is really hurting us financially.

If there is no or little damage to the house after he is gone, do I have to return his deposit or can I apply it legally, to the rent due?

Is there anyone in the group from the Pt Richey area, where all this is playing out?

Thanks!