Legal Question in Consumer Law in Florida

I own a rental property in Atlantic Beach, Florida and I am having more than one problem with tenant and I am unclear on some of the laws. He moved in on June 15, 2009 and in that short amount of time my house has been destroyed. He is in the Navy and is telling me that he is getting orders to leave to VA. I told him that, that was ok (b/c of the Soldiers and Sailors Act) just to provide me with a copy of his orders. I have conformation from multiple neighbors that he has not been living there for almost a month. That he is living with a girlfriend on the other side of town. But however his ex-girlfriend has been and she moved 3 drag queens in.

My lease with him has been voided in multiple ways: He was not allowed to move anyone in without my ok and there was no subleasing allowed and he has been doing both. He was allowed one small dog that was to stay out in the backyard, however there are two cats and two different dogs living inside the house (and no litter-box) . They have changed the locks on the house and I can no longer enter it if I needed to b/c they did not only not notify me but they did not provide me with a copy of the key to the new locks. There are holes in my walls, my carpets are ruined (they will have to be replaced), wood-work ripped off the walls, black mold growing everywhere, they painted the walls with out my ok, and the list could go on and on. Its so dirty/nasty/smelly that when they open the door you can smell the stench across the street.

Well my main problem is with this ex-girlfriend. My tenant is out and is not coming back. However how can I make this girl leave? I notified her two days ago that she had 18 hrs to vacate the premises seeming how my actual tenant was out and I was needing to come in and clean house so I can re-rent it out. She will not leave she called the cops and they were of no help to me what-so-ever. They told me that there is nothing that I can do about it. That she can not be made to leave my house seeming how my old tenant moved her in. That it did not matter that she was legally not allowed to be there (referencing to my lease). That I would have to evict her and that, that can take up to 3 months. How do I have no rights in this situation?!? Is there any way that I can get her out of my house ASAP? I am worried about more damage to my house. It is already going to cost me way more than the security deposit to fix it.

Were the cops wrong in this situation? Do I really have no rights to my own home? How can I even evict her when I don't know her name?

I found this in FL Statutes 2007-Ch0083-Section 56#0083.56"Section 83.56(2)(a), F.S.

Under certain circumstances, if you have exhibited a lack of consideration for the rights and privacy of others, a landlord has the right to require you to move with very little notice.

In some cases (destruction, damage, misuse of property, unreasonable disturbances), the landlord does not have to give you an opportunity to remedy the problem and may terminate tenancy by giving you a seven-day written notice.

Now if I did this would it end up the same way as today with the cops coming over and telling me that I had no right to tell her to get out of my house?

And help please, I'm at a loss here!

Asked on 11/28/09, 9:48 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Alan Wagner Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore P.A.

To me, she sounds like a tresspasser. She has no right to be on the property. She is not a tennant and has no lease. Never did. She is not there with your permission and has no legal right to be at the property. I think the police gave you bad information. I would go up the chain there. They may have thought that she was a legal sub tennant or had some right to be there. You need to corectly tell them that the prior tennat is gone, that the p[erson there has no lease, has never had the right to be there and is a tresspasser.

The tenant breached the lease by changing the locks. I assume that you had a clause that permitted you access and that they could not change the locks. I would check with the police again. Sounds like they did not want to do their jobs. You may need a lawyer in the area, but, since they have changed the locks, I would explore the possibility of getting a locksmith to change the locks when they are out and leave a note for THE TENANT, that he can get the new key. That may solve the problem. If she shows up, she gets no key.

Check first with the police and be sure you appear and speak to the correct people. Then get a lawyer. I would contact the tenant's base commander to see if he has been deployed. Looks like he should get sued as well.

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Answered on 12/03/09, 10:25 pm
Angelo Marino Angelo Marino Jr. PA

Why put up with the head aches for trying to understand the law and deal with this situation. That is why we have lawyers. Get one, it will be well worth your money. Want to know the law? Sign up for our free newsletter on varies areas of the law by sending an email to [email protected] and requesting the newsletter, or go to

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Answered on 12/04/09, 9:11 am
Lesly Longa Longa Law P.A.

There are formal requirements for eviction. You can't just do it yourself, providing the amount of notice you want; you have to file in court. You can also file action for the damage to the apartment. I agree that you need to get a lawyer. It sounds like the original tenant breached, and you have no landlord-tenant relationship with the current occupant. The cops are not lawyers, and "they" cannot provide you with legal advice. I will be happy to help you with the eviction process. There is also useful information on landlord-tenant law in Florida available at

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Answered on 12/04/09, 11:24 am

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