Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Florida

I responded to an ad on craigslist- for a month to month house for rent. I moved in July 9th, paid $500 deposit and $1000 rent (which includes all utilities). I have not signed any leases. The house is in a condo complex with an association.

The association pulled me in their office yesterday and had me read a florida statute- basically saying if the owner of the unit has not paid their dues than the renter (me) is to remit the rent payment directly to the association. If I do not remit payment to them, they will start the eviction process. If I do remit payment to them, I am immune from the owner doing anything to me.

I called the owner yesterday to discuss everything- but she has not called me back.

What is my best option here? Should I just see how much rent is for the assocication (which is probably way cheaper than what I am paying the owner)? And if I do that, is the owner required to keep paying the utilities? Or do I legally have to get the utilities in my name- or can I even do that?

Also, the statue states that the owner is required to give me money back that I have paid her- is this true?

I was honestly blind sided by all of this. I had no idea anything like this was happening. I believe the owner and the association should settle this all legally and keep me out of it, but apparently that is not the case.

Any information or advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

Asked on 7/23/10, 7:05 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jane-Robin Wender Wender Law, P.A.

Recently, there have been a rash of scams dealing with rented houses, usually houses that are in foreclosure and no one is living there. People you do not own them are listing them for rent, mostly on Craigslist. Sounds like you may have been scammed. In the future, when renting you should check the county property appraiser (it is all public and on line) to see who owns the property. Check whether rental businesses are for real by going to which lists corporations. Sorry to hear about your trouble.

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Answered on 7/24/10, 7:38 pm

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