Skip to main content
Kristy Lynn Harrington

Kristy Harrington’s Answers

85 total


  • Can my landlord lock me out with 24 hours notice, I am not behind on rent, she states I am in violation of lease agreement which

    false and states that if not out, after 7 days she will change locks, I have this in writing from her. We have not gone to court at all. I feel this is in retailation from filing police report against neighbors who she also rents to

    Kristy’s Answer

    Under the FL Residential Landlord & Tenant Act (FL Statute Ch. 83, Part 2), your LL cannot do the things she is doing. However, unless & until she is put on some sort of notice that she takes seriously, advising her that she is in serious violation of the Act & may be liable to you for both damages & attorney fees, she may not stop. For this reason, you really need to consult with a local attorney who can assist you in dealing with this person & protecting your rights.

    Your LL must take proper steps to evict you & if you are not behind on your rent, then her option would be to give you a 7-day notice to vacate & if you do not do so, then to evict you. However, the 7-day notice would have to be for a reasonable issue that you should not be given the opportunity to correct. So even that is not a perfect option for her.

    There is no self-help eviction in FL, meaning your LL cannot just change the locks, shut off your utilities, or otherwise drive you out of the property. She also must ordinarily give you "reasonable notice" before she enters your property for any reason other than an emergency. However, as the tenant, you cannot block her access so long as she has given you reasonable notice. Again, there are a number of issues at play here that make it imperative for you to seek the assistance of local counsel if you believe she intends to lock you out shortly or otherwise continue taking illegal action against you. Good luck to you.

    The above information is not comprehensive & is intended as a starting point for educational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice & counsel from a private attorney who can review your situation in detail & help you determine a course of action based upon your particular circumstances.

    See question 
  • If I have a huge amount of outstanding debt (about $350,000) and I fail to pay anything back, can I be charged with grand theft?

    I lost my job about 2 years ago and have been unable to get any work at all because I am disabled and because I have a "record" since I was charged with a motor vehicle felony a few years ago. As of today, all of my different credit cards are in ...

    Kristy’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    There are times when someone files for bankruptcy & a creditor will appear in the case & argue the person should not be discharged from the debt because they engaged in fraud or criminal activity at the time they incurred the debt (for example, falsifying a loan application). However, you have not provided any information that indicates that was an issue for you & in general you cannot be charged with grand theft simply because you fell behind on paying back a debt you legitimately incurred. There are many people in the same boat as you right now. I agree with the prior answer that it's in your best interest to speak with a bankruptcy attorney, given the amount of your outstanding debt & the potential for your creditors to pursue you in court. Good luck to you!

    The above information is not comprehensive & is intended as a starting point for educational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice & counsel from a private attorney who can review your situation in detail & help you determine a course of action based upon your particular circumstances.

    See question 
  • Can a landlord tell me Feb 14th to be out by March 1st?

    My home is in forclosure and I stopped rent payment as of Feb 11th and let the landlord know that I need to find a new place and must have 1st, last, and security. I have a young daughter. I believe I can be out by April 1st. Can she make me be ou...

    Kristy’s Answer

    If you are on a month-to-month tenancy, your landlord need only give you 15 days' notice before the end of the month to move out before the first of the following month. However, you do not say whether you are under a Lease or merely month-to-month, so I don't know if your landlord was justified in the notice she gave you in this instance.

    Keep in mind that just because a home is in foreclosure, it does not mean a tenant can stop paying rent. Unless you have some sort of agreement with the landlord that you do not have to pay rent if the property is in foreclosure, you cannot refuse to pay just because the landlord will eventually lose the house & you need to put money down on a new place to live. You are always free to negotiate with your landlord - perhaps you could agree to allow her to keep your existing security deposit in exchange for the rent you have not paid her? Just put anything you do end up agreeing on in writing.

    If you believe your landlord is doing something that violates your Lease agreement, you should consult with a local attorney who can assist you in detail. Good luck to you.

    The above information is not comprehensive & is intended as a starting point for educational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice & counsel from a private attorney who can review your situation in detail & help you determine a course of action based upon your particular circumstances.

    See question 
  • In a bankruptsy, can HOA dues be included?

    Although my home is currently in foreclosure, I have continued to pay my HOA dues as I live in a small community and every dollar helps to maintain the grounds. But although I have paid and continue to pay the HOA dues as best I can and do have ...

    Kristy’s Answer

    Yes, unpaid HOA dues can be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. HOWEVER, any dues that come due AFTER you have filed the bankruptcy but while you still own the property DO remain your responsibility. So, if you have $5,000 in unpaid dues on the date you file, that will be wiped out. But if the foreclosure isn't completed until 6 months after you file the bankruptcy, all dues that come due after the date of the bankruptcy filing will continue to be your responsibility. Once title to the property has transferred to a new owner (presumably in this case after the foreclosure sale), any dues that come due after that will be the new owner's responsibility.

    If you are contemplating bankruptcy, you should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options. Although you are able to file for bankruptcy on your own, I do not recommend you attempt to do so, especially because of little nuances in the law like the one discussed above, that do keep you on the hook for some things after you file. Good luck to you!

    The above information is not comprehensive & is intended as a starting point for educational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice & counsel from a private attorney who can review your situation in detail & help you determine a course of action based upon your particular circumstances.

    See question 
  • If my home is in foreclosure can my ex wife move back in if she promises the bank she will get the payments caught back up? She

    wants to move my daughters back in even though she can't afford the mortgage on her own since she refuses to work or get a job

    Kristy’s Answer

    You &/or your ex could continue living in the home or could move back in until the time that title has transferred to a new owner (typically 10 days after the foreclosure sale). But just telling the bank she will get the payments caught up will do absolutely nothing to stop the foreclosure.

    She would actually have to pay at least the amount you were behind on the mortgage & even then it's questionable whether the lender would accept it this late in the game. The lender may refuse to accept any partial payment at this point, since the mortgage has been accelerated & the full amount of the mortgage is now due - not just the payments for the months you fell behind.

    Also, you say "your" home is in foreclosure - from that it is not clear whether your ex was on the promissory note with you. If she is not on the promissory note, she would not be able to negotiate with the lender herself. You would have to negotiate with the lender for some sort of workout, which could include a loan modification, on your own behalf. Keep in mind that even if you do apply for a loan modification or other type of workout, the foreclosure will most likely continue at the same time.

    It sounds like if you &/or your ex want your daughters to be able to live in this house (meaning, I assume, that you want to try & keep the house), you should consult with an attorney who can help you fight the foreclosure & help you determine what your options with the lender (if any) may be at this point. Good luck to you.

    The above information is not comprehensive & is intended as a starting point for educational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice & counsel from a private attorney who can review your situation in detail & help you determine a course of action based upon your particular circumstances.

    See question 
  • AS A LANDLORD IS IT LEGAL TO RENT TO A TENANT PRIOR TO A FORECLOSURE SALE DATE ? THE TENANT WAS INFORMED OF THE POSSIBLE SALE.

    TENANT NOW REFUSES TO PAY RENT. CLAIMING THAT RENT WAS PUT IN ESCROW ACCOUNT. NO PROOF WAS PROVIDED. CAN I EVICT HER?

    Kristy’s Answer

    As per the prior answer, yes, you can rent to someone while you continue to own the house & yes, you will have to evict her if she is refusing to pay you rent. You need to follow the proper eviction procedure, which begins with posting the 3-day notice, giving her the ability to pay the full amount of overdue rent or vacate within 3 days. The notice you should use is in FL Statute 83.56(3).

    If the tenant fails to comply with the 3-day notice, then you must bring eviction proceedings against her. You can likely obtain an eviction packet from your local clerk of court. Alternatively, you can have an attorney assist you. The tenant will need to deposit the unpaid rent into the court's registry if she wants to fight being evicted for any reason other than a concern over how much rent is due. If the tenant wants to claim she already paid you the rent, she will have to provide proof of same.

    Whether the tenant vacates pursuant to the 3-day notice or is evicted, you can still pursue her for the unpaid rent. A small claims suit is any amount less than $5,000. If she owes you more than that, you will have to take her to county court. Since the FL Residential Landlord & Tenant Act provides that the prevailing party in a lawsuit under the lease can recover their attorney fees & costs from the losing party, it may be worth your while to seek out an attorney to assist you in suing her, if need be. Although you cannot be sure she would pay even after a judgment is entered against her, the threat of having to pay your fees on top of the unpaid rent might be enough to make her cooperate with you without the need for litigation. Good luck.

    The above information is not comprehensive & is intended as a starting point for educational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice & counsel from a private attorney who can review your situation in detail & help you determine a course of action based upon your particular circumstances.

    See question 
  • How to respond to a summons for forclosure

    I cannot afford an attorney. Do I have to respond?

    Kristy’s Answer

    I agree that you should make an effort to find an attorney who will assist you. Local legal aid societies are a good place to start. Some local bar associations also have pro bono programs where they match up people who cannot afford attorneys with members of the local bar who have volunteered their time.

    If you want to keep the property & you do not respond to the summons & complaint on time, the lender's attorney will eventually move for a default against you & the case will proceed to summary judgment & later a foreclosure sale. As previously stated, you have 20 calendar days, beginning the date after you were served, in which to answer. Calendar days are consecutive days & include weekends & federal holidays. Do not wait until day #19 or 20 to seek out legal assistance, if you believe you want to fight the foreclosure. Good luck to you.

    The above information is not comprehensive & is intended as a starting point for educational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice & counsel from a private attorney who can review your situation in detail & help you determine a course of action based upon your particular circumstances.

    See question 
  • What do i need to do if a landlord(roommate)tells me landloerd(roommate)tells me to get out

    to get out

    Kristy’s Answer

    There are a number of factors that would influence whether your landlord gave you proper notice to vacate & what, if anything, you can use as a defense. Without any facts about your lease (if any), the amount of time the landlord gave you to vacate, the date on which you received the notice to vacate, etc., it's impossible to tell you what you need to do, other than find a local attorney to consult with & give them all of the details of your situation. Unfortunately, there is just not enough here to go on.

    The above information is not comprehensive & is intended as a starting point for educational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice & counsel from a private attorney who can review your situation in detail & help you determine a course of action based upon your particular circumstances.

    See question 
  • How to protect myself against Ex-roomie property claims?

    I was only individual listed on lease. Rented for years. A portion of that time I took in a roommate. LL knew, was ok, but no lease change. Roommate moved out, left lots behind. No ability to contact. Eventually word of mouth when I was movi...

    Kristy’s Answer

    There's no good answer to your question. You should have made an inventory of the property your roommate left behind when she moved out & perhaps should have put it all together in one place for friend to collect the first time they came over. Allowing someone into the property while you were not there also did not help things, since you had no way to monitor what was being taken & to protect your own belongings.

    At this point, I think you're just going to have to wait & see if she tries to sue you for anything she claims you took. If you are threatened with a lawsuit or if you are served with court papers, your best bet is to consult with an attorney who can help you respond to her allegations & defend yourself. Perhaps you would have a counterclaim against her for the damage you claim her friend did to your property. But if you think you would pursue a counterclaim, you're going to need photographs & proof of the damage you say you sustained, along with the value of the damage. Good luck to you.

    The above information is not comprehensive & is intended as a starting point for educational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice & counsel from a private attorney who can review your situation in detail & help you determine a course of action based upon your particular circumstances.

    See question 
  • Does a landlord have to supply heat in the state of florida

    I have a trailer that i rent it has central air and gas heat. the gas tank is empty and the new tenents were told that it was repossiblity to fill the gas tank for heat. I have had problems with them ever since they move in so i gave them a seven...

    Kristy’s Answer

    From your facts, it's hard to say whether your trailer would be considered a single family home or not. "Mobile homes" being rented by tenants are considered "dwelling units" for purposes of the FL Residential Landlord & Tenant Act (FL Statute Chapter 83, Part 2). However, a trailer may or may not be a mobile home & may instead be considered a motor vehicle in some cases. Also, the Act does not make clear whether a mobile home rented by a tenant is considered a "single family home." Unfortunately, while the maintenance statute, FL Statute 83.51, references single family homes, that term is not defined.

    If we assume that your trailer is a mobile home covered by the Act & that it is indeed a single family home as well, you should review your lease to see what it says about your duties to the tenants &/or the tenants' duties as to maintenance & upkeep of the trailer. If you do fall under FL Statute 83.51, it's important to remember the lease can modify the provisions of that statute, ie, it may turn some of the maintenance duties over to the tenant & take them out of the landlord's hands.

    If that is the case & it's in the lease, the tenants could actually be responsible for refilling the gas tank themselves. You DID mention that you told them they would have to fill the gas tank. The problem is, if that's not in writing in the lease, you will have a "he said/she said" situation on your hands. The other problem you may have if it's not in writing is that your lease may very well say that it is the entire agreement between the parties - if so, then the tenants may argue that their filling the gas tank was not part of your lease agreement.

    Returning to FL Statute 83.51 on its face, subsection (1) pertains to a single family home or duplex - it states that the landlord must comply with all applicable building, housing, & health codes. If your trailer were to be considered a single family home & your lease did not modify your responsibilities as the landlord, then you would need to find out whether your local housing & health codes require you to provide heat.

    However, under subsection (2), a landlord of a property other than a single family home or duplex IS responsible for providing heat, running water, & hot water to the tenant at all times. Subsection (2) also can be modified in writing, so if your trailer is not considered a single family home & you fall under FS 83.51(2), your lease may specify the tenants are responsible for heat, running water, &/or hot water. However, if the lease does not say this, then we're right back to the same problems discussed above.

    Finally, you do not say why you gave them a 7-Day Notice, other than you "have had problems with them ever since they moved in." Based on that info alone, it's impossible to say whether you were justified in giving them a 7-Day Notice. Simply disliking the tenants or considering them a nuisance for making numerous maintenance requests does not entitle a landlord to try to evict them.

    It may be in your best interest to take your lease to a private attorney who can review it with you & get a better understanding of what you're trying to explain in your question here. They should also be better able to tell you if you have a case for evicting the tenants before their lease expires & if so, what your most successful arguments in that regard would be. Hopefully they can also help you determine whether your trailer falls under the "mobile home" &/or "single family home" categories of the FL Residential Landlord & Tenant Act for purposes of interpreting how the Act applies to your situation. Good luck to you.

    The above information is not comprehensive & is intended as a starting point for educational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice & counsel from a private attorney who can review your situation in detail & help you determine a course of action based

    See question