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3 years ago
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Need a really smart landlord or attorney for this one. I'll keep it brief and sequential.
1. We rent a 5000 sq ft home in a FL neighborhood for $5K from MV in Oct 09. Taxes paid, told him we didn'...

1. We rent a 5000 sq ft home in a FL neighborhood for $5K from MV in Oct 09. Taxes paid, told him we didn't want any home in foreclosure - told "no issue here".
2. 3 mo's later, process server shows up - house in foreclosure, mortgage hadn't been paid 3 since Aug 09. Turns out MV isn't owner - his brother is, he is subletting. If we knew it was a sublet, or home was in foreclosure, we would have never rented in the 1st place, and in fact passed on nicer/cheaper homes because of same issue.
3. MV says "give me a wk and I'll get it cleared up". Week passes, no communication, city says probably will be a while before we're evicted but can't say how long.
4. We spend 4 weekends of our personal time looking at other homes, eventually sign another lease. We liked the home & the subdivision where we had been living but we were very uncomfortable with the situation.
5. MV tells us he has paid off past due mortgage (he has) - we say we still want out since he isn't really the owner (and can't guarantee same thing won't happen again), plus he waited until after we signed new lease to tell us he had fixed things.
5. We leave - one year later, he sues us for 7 months rent.

Can he? Of course. My attorney says he might win and we should settle. I'm crazed - there is no way we would have rented from him if we knew either he wasn't the owner, or the home was in foreclosure (and I can prove the latter issue because we were working with a realtor at the time and he knew how we felt about foreclosures).

Should I settle? Should I countersue? Any advice would be appreciated.
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3 years ago
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Counter-sue. You entered into a lease under false pretences, as well as false statements. It would be very helpful if you were able to have something in writing. However, If I am not mistaken, you may also be able to sue him for the amount of money you had to shell out to move, the deposit, and the first months rent. This would depend on Florida's laws, however I would definitely contact another attorney (one that specializes in real estate and,one that knows the in's and out's about improper lease contracts. This person rented to you intentionally making you think he was the owner and was not. Tell your attorney to look up the real estate law called "Statute of frauds". Also check the Fraud law in your state. As it is here (Mutual agreement requires tht there be no fraud, innocent misrepresentation, or mistake in the contract if it is to be valid. A fraud is an act intended to decieve for the purpose of inducing another to part with something of value. It can be as blatant as knowingly telling a lie or making a promise with no intention of performance. Because mutual agreement was lacking, the tenant can rescind (cancel) the contract and get the rent money back.) REF: ninth Edition, Real Estate An introduction to the profession, : By Charles J. Jacobus I do hope this has been helpful in some way. Good luck.

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3 years ago
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Unless you have them add an adendum to the lease stating that the house was not in les pendings, you have absolutly no case. Can you "garantee" that you will never miss a payment on your rent? Of course not. The owner's financial health is not the tenants business unless it causes the tenant distress. Subleasing is not only legal, it is very common in Florida. They have no obligation to divulge that information to you. The owner did not default of the contract, you did. Even if he did not catch it up, it takes at least 2 years to forclose, and your lease would have been up anyway. That being said, he cannot come back a year later and sue unless he sent you a security deposit claim within 30 days of your move out. Also, a judge usually will not award the whole term of a lease in a case like this. Two months max. If they re rented the property after you moved out, the damamges will have stopped, and so will the money that you owe. If he takes you to court, you will will on that merit, not because fraud took place, because it did not. Next time, do your own homework for les pending. It's a matter of public record.

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