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Non-Lease tenant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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  • Non-Lease tenant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    I was informally subletting a bedroom in a 2-bedroom apartment from a girl since August 2009. In December 2009 she moved out with no notice to me nor her landlord. I paid her my rent every month and she in turn gave it to the landlord together with her own share. She failed to pay the landlord the December rent. Shortly after she moved out she shut off all the utilities and I had to get them turned back on in my name. I didn't even know her landlord's name but he did come over a few days later and was screaming that I was trespassing and was a squatter in his property. Eventually he calmed down and gave me an application to rent. I filled it out and the next day left him voicemail to see where to mail or fax the application. No reply but several hours later an real estate agent served me a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit Premises.

    Let me also mention that this property is in pre-foreclosure, as are 2 other properties owned bu this landlord. He signed a 1-4 Family Rider to his mortgage notr agreeing that if defaulted all rents would be paid to the bank holding his mortgage note. I called Chase Bank and they said that is so, but I will need to await notice from them to pay rent to them.

    Nothing more ever happened in December after serving me that 3-day notice. Then in January a real estate agent came out and had me fill out an Agreement To Enter Into Lease. I did so, but the landlord never came by with a typed-up lease to finish our transaction.

    Now 2 weeks ago he again has served me another 3-Day Notice, which I ignored because he actually did not serve me but the girl who used to live her and subletted my room to me. The notice did have the words "and whoever else lives there." I don't know if this is proper notice to me. It demanded $2,522 in back rent, I don't know where the landlord got that figure, as the rent for January and February, at $1200 per month, would be $2400 and if he were to include December would be $3600.

    Last week I finally got the eviction lawsuit and summons. Again I am not named specifically, and the amount is wrong. Attached to it as an exhibit was an old lease from the girl and her husband who lived here. It expired in February 2009 and is not evidence, I wouldn't think, of any present indebtedness I have to this landlord.

    This landlord has had me fill out an application to rent and an agreement to enter into lease, so he well knows my name, so why is he not naming me in these papers he is serving on me?

    I responded within the required 5 days to the eviction complaint and I told all of this and attached copies of the application to rent and agreement to lease.

    I asked the suit to be struck as facially insufficient because I was not named, the amount is wrong and his evidence was an old expired lease from a previous occupant.

    What do you think?

  • #2
    Re: Non-Lease tenant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Frankly, I think you are SOL. He asked you to fill out an application. No lease, but since you acknowledged that you live there, that may have created a m2m tenancy with him. You now owe rent and haven't paid. You have no lease, and you aren't on the one lease that there was for the property. (You weren't even listed as an occupant, so she probably illegally sublet to you.) You have paid no money to the LL for the rent. When they evict her, that will clear the unit. That and "all others clause" is YOU! If I were you, I'd move out now.

    You don't need to be listed specifically. He has no formal lease with you. But he did include the all other clause which will set you on the street when they evict her. The amount listed probably included late fees, NSF fees for bad checks, or other default fees (which may also be listed as rent in the lease).

    Best case scenario, you might make a case that you are a m2m tenant. That would mean that you are responsible for the entire rent for the whole unit, not for the rent on one bedroom of it. Could you afford that? He might try to make a case that you are responsible for the entire rent for as long as you have lived there. You don't want to take over her debt.

    You should be glad you aren't listed on the eviction. This saves your good court record. Once it is filed, even if you were to win, it remains a permanent part of your court record. Future LLs almost always check court records. They would deny you housing because of it. (They don't care if you won or lost the case. The fact that a LL had to file against you is enough to brand you a PITA tenant.) You don't want that. Find a new place and move out before this girl, and all others (you), are evicted. The rent hasn't been paid and this is a slam dunk case for the LL. Unless she (or you) pay all that money before court, this case will be decided within 10 minutes. And anything in the unit will be set out on the street within 72 hours. You need to get out now.


    • #3
      Re: Non-Lease tenant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

      Well I received 2 different 3-day notices with differing rent owed amounts. The first was in my name for $1200 and the second in the girl's name, 24 days later for $2520. So I asked the court to determine what rent I actually do owe. His foreclosure goes to summary judgment in March and I actually want to buy the property but he is in denial that he is losing it and won't discuss a sale with anyone.


      • #4
        Re: Non-Lease tenant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

        Since he didn't act on the 1st notice (the $1200) one, that notice is moot. The next notice includes another month of rent and probably all the late fees (and maybe a termination fee if her lease wasn't up yet). Got $2520 to pay the rent up to date? I seriously doubt he would even accept it from you, or even has to. You don't have a contract with him, remember? You're a third party to his lease agreement with the tenant. LLs don't take rent from third parties. That would create a m2m contract with you. If he was going to do that, he would have accepted you as a tenant (which he didn't.)

        I strongly suggest moving before this eviction case is heard with the tenant. After that, the sheriff or bailiff will arrive for a set out of whatever is in the unit (your stuff included). If and when the property comes up for bank auction, feel free to bid on it. Judgment in March means the sale will be scheduled about 30-60 days later. (It has to be advertised by publication in between.) But don't be surprised to be outbid by the bank. They will bid up to the balance of the mortgage and just take the property back. They will then put the property up for sale with a realtor. By then this eviction case will be long over and anything in the unit will be out in the street. You need to move out now and protect your belongings.


        • #5
          Re: Non-Lease tenant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

          The actual tenant has not really been served. She moved 2 months ago and I so informed the process server. He served me anyway but she has no idea of this eviction case coming up. The first 3-Day Notice was in my name. The 2nd Notice was in her name "and whoever else resides". The actual complaint is to her as well as "Unknown parties also residing." But I am not unknown, he had my name from the rental application as well as the agreement to enter into a lease and he used my name on the first 3-day notice.

          Also, in Florida only accrued rents may be cited in any notice or complaint. Late fees and costs are awarded if the eviction is successful. But may not be demanded in the Notice or complaint. So in my response to the court I asked for a determination of actual rent owed to be made, which requires a hearing in and of itself.

          Also, he signed the Agreement to Enter into a lease, as did I/ Is that not then binding upon him to then produce a lease for me to sign and pay rent and security?

          There are just a lot of weird and contradictory and even sloppy things in the Notice and complaint so I have asked for it to be struck as facially deficient and defective.


          • #6
            Re: Non-Lease tenant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

            You don't seem to understand. The notice can be served on any adult in the unit. That person is responsible to give the notice to the tenant. In most states, it can just be taped to the door, even if the tenant doesn't live there! Proper notice has been served upon the official residence of the tenant named on the lease. It is not deficient nor defective. The first notice was defective because it named a non-tenant, and not the actual tenant on the legal contract (lease). So a second, proper notice was served naming the tenant and all others (you).

            It doesn't matter if he knows your name. He actually did you a favor by not naming you in the suit. This will keep it off your court record. It will not prevent you from getting housing later unless you stay and are forcibly removed. But that phrase included YOU. You will be evicted with her! She hasn't paid her rent. She signed the lease, not you. You are an subtenant. Your only agreement was with her, not the LL. She broke your agreement when she didn't pay her rent. And in all likelihood, she was probably not allowed to sublease without the LL's permission. He obviously didn't grant permission.

            Late fees and other fees can be included if the lease listed them as "additional rents". This lumps them with any other rent.You don't know how long it has been since she paid her rent. This doesn't matter though. She has no intention of paying the rent. You aren't on the lease and he won't accept it from you. You may not be allowed to even speak at an eviction hearing since you aren't on the lease, aren't a tenant, and aren't named in the eviction suit. You have no choice but to move or be set out in the eviction.

            An agreement to enter into a lease isn't a lease. No lease was signed with you. It is not a binding agreement. At best, it might allow you to be a m2m tenant. But since you didn't pay the rent and the 3 days have passed, he no longer has to accept any rent. Eviction will proceed. I urge you to move out before the hearing. Otherwise, you and your belongings will be forcibly removed from the unit.


            • #7
              Re: Non-Lease tenant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

              Why would the bank bid? The summary judgment of foreclosure gives them ownership. perhaps you are confusing this with a tax sale. It will become REO - real estate owned by bank. Mortgagee forfeits the property as collateral he pledged to get the mortgage. The bank paid for the property when it gave him a mortgage and holds deed until he pays off mortgage note- or in this case, he forfeits it back by getting foreclosed.

              Anyway, he signed an agreement to enter into a lease with me. Just never followed through. He has stopped by numerous times and asked for money, but I told him the bank told me not to pay him, he signed a 1-4 Family Rider to the mortgage note, by which he agreed that if he goes into default, the rents go to the bank. If he has no right to collect rent, how can he evict me for not paying rent to him? He dug himself this hole back in July 2008 before I even moved in here.


              • #8
                Re: Non-Lease tenant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

                In most states, the bank will not get the actual house in the judgment. They get a summary judgment against the previous owner for the value of the mortgage amount ($XXXXXX). Mortgage notes and riders are merely contracts. Contracts have to go through courts to be enforced. (Just as a lease- the owner cannot simply come and evict you without a court action. Neither can that bank enforce that mortgage or rider without that court action. Until the court case finishes, that rider is not enforceable.) The bank files with the court to foreclose. They get a monetary judgment for a certain dollar amount, not the actual house. The court sends the foreclosure case to the sheriff to liquidate the foreclosed property (Sheriff sales sell the property at auction. The foreclosure forces a sale.) The foreclosed property comes up for public auction. The bank bids up to the amount of the outstanding mortgage. Usually there are no bidders past that amount (since most homes that are foreclosed are under water - worth less than what is owed). The sale closes, showing the bank "paying" exactly what the foreclosure court has said was owed. This is how they take the property back. They then list the property with a realtor to re-sell. It works this way with tax liens too.

                You just don't seem to understand. An agreement to enter into a lease IS NOT A LEASE. YOU DO NOT HAVE A LEASE!!! The agreement to enter has no merit in any court. You will be evicted with the tenant who was on the lease. He has the right to collect rent, file evictions, and any other property action until, and up to the date, the foreclosure case is closed. That is not until after the sale! In some states, he even has 6 months after the foreclosure to continue to assert his rights on the property and to reclaim it from the foreclosure. (The house could have actually sold, and he can just come back in less than 6 months, pay what is owed, and retake the property!) He is not considered "in default" until that foreclosure case is finished. Until then, he has every right as the owner of that property. You are going to be evicted if you don't move out. You have been warned. If you continue to stay, don't say no one told you.


                • #9
                  Re: Non-Lease tenant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

                  Thank you for all your advice.


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