My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Florida
My husband and I just rented a lovely, furnished house from a lady who inherited the home when her mother passed away. Wary of scams, we made sure we met the owner and physically toured the house. As an added measure of protection, we stopped by unannounced to drop off the deposit, just to make sure the owner did indeed live there. Satisfied that everything was legit, we signed a lease, paid July rent up front, and received a copy of the key.
Since then, a few things have happened to make us suspicious. First, the owner remained unsure about exactly where she was moving. She left her contact information as “TBD” on the lease and assured us that the info would be waiting on the dining room table when we moved in. We arrived July 1 to find that the owner had left everything *but* contact information. Other than her clothes and two pets, all of her personal effects remained in the house. Every drawer, every cabinet was full of items ranging from leftover food to old family photos to two decades worth of tax returns. It made me very uncomfortable, but I’m mostly concerned about the fact that we have now been here two weeks and still have no address for sending the August rent, which is due on the 1st.
Feeling uneasy, we did what we should have initially done and checked the website for the county property assessor. According to the site, the lady who leased us the house sold the property in May for the strangely low sum of $12,000, or about one-tenth the market value.
What is all this likely to mean for us and what should our next steps be? Should we just wait to see if we hear from her between now and the due date for rent, or should we try to contact someone in her family or bypass her altogether and contact the man who is listed as the new owner? Because the house is on a golf course, there is also an HOA...would it be worth contacting them to see if they know anything?