I have tenant with one year lease and expires May 31, 2016. I dont want to renew due to continously being late on rent. Currently I have not received April 1 rent of $1400. I sent certified 60 day notice of non-renewal to tenant and her son. The son has power of atttorney who pays ( or is suppose to pay) her bills. She is elderly and has beginning stages of Dementia.
When the lease expires May 31, 2016, can I legally enter the home and change the locks? What if tenant is still there? What if her and her furnishing are still there?
If she's still there you will need to file eviction. You may also need to sue him/her for the April (and if not paid May too) rent. You should consult with a local landlord/tenant lawyer as this is not a DIY job.
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Entering the premises and changing the locks is the last thing you would want to do. If the person fails to vacate at the end of the term, they become a holdover tenant and you would be required to file an eviction to remove them.
Contact a local landlord/tenant attorney, use Avvo to find one. You have to be careful dealing with the elderly. Good luck.
You will need to go through an eviction proceeding. Do not simply enter the house and change locks upon the expiration of the lease. It would be wise to consult with a landlord-tenant attorney now to confirm your notice of non-renewal is proper and perhaps to take some additional preemptive steps to try and ward off the tenant being a holdover and having to incur the costs and hassle of an eviction.
That you are asking this question is a classic example of why residential landlording is NOT is casual side business or treated like a hobby. That you are asking such a basic question after having already rented to the property out should terrify you and you should stop any further renting until you retain a proper landlord attorney to assist you. That stated, NO, you cannot just re-take possession, as she would be a"hold over" tenant that must be properly evicted. A landlord mis-stepping on something so simple is the bread and butter of my tenant/renters practice suing landlords for violation of Chap. 83.
Responses provided represent entirely un-researched, casual opinions and cannot be relied upon in any way or manner as legal advice. No communication here is intended to establish an attorney-client relationship.
As the other attorneys have mentioned, you should not enter the premises and change the locks. What they failed to mention is that such action can be deemed self-help eviction and you would be responsible for three months rent as a penalty. So the tenant could sue you for at least $4,200.00 plus attorneys fees and costs if you change the locks.
No attorney-client relationship is created by answering questions in this public forum. If you wish to create an attorney-client relationship, you must contact me directly and sign a representation agreement. Answers are provided based on general ideas and an answer specific to your situation would require a review of all documents.
If the tenant does not leave the property voluntarily you will need to initiate eviction proceedings. I strongly suggest that you retain the services of an attorney who regularly practices in landlord/tenant law to assist you with this. If there is any question as to whether the tenant has vacated (for example if you cannot find the tenant but some of their property remains behind) it is also important that you contact an attorney for guidance and will likely need to go through an eviction process.
Especially given that you are dealing with an elderly person with potentially diminished capacity this could raise other concerns as well. However, if you take any steps to remove them or their property from the premises you would be engaging in a "self help" eviction which is a prohibited practice under Florida Law and could subject you to liability and additional penalties.
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