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RealEstateAnswer
RealEstateAnswer, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 23978
Experience:  9+ years in handling Leases, Landlord-Tenant, Foreclosures,Mortgages, and Eviction cases
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I am a landlord in Miami, Florida ( Dade county ). Recently,

Customer Question

I am a landlord in Miami, Florida ( Dade county ). Recently, a realty agency contacted me with prospective tenants for a 2 month rental. The prospective tenants signed a "contract to lease" and left the complete rent for the two months deposited with the realty agency.
I proposed a lease and the tenants signed it.
The next day, I see they moved it - but I never got the money. They must have received the code from the realtor when I gave her the code for the front door.
I have been chasing the money for 10 days now from the owner of the agency. Everyday it's a new excuse. Now the owner of the agency is asking me if I know anyone who can give him small business loans because he is in a 'bad spot'
What do I do? Do I give 3 day notice to the tenants? Do I call the police for embezzlement? What action do I take?
I want the money and just move on, but if this was a criminal action or civil I just want to know what action to take. I can't have the tenants living there for free.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 5 months ago.

Just to be clear, you hired this agency and allowed them to act on your behalf and collect the money for the rental?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.

No. I listed my property for rent on the MLS. The realtor contacted me with prospective tenants.

Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 5 months ago.

Right but you allowed them to collect the money on your behalf? Just trying to figure out why the tenants did not give you the money and the agency took the deposit and you did not simply pay them a commission

Customer: replied 5 months ago.

I wasn't exactly asked if they should collect the money on my behalf. They came to me with prospective tenants and a signed contract that was titled contract to lease. Then they sent me an application and another contract to lease indicating that they were holding $2,800 . Ivan created a lease and emailed it to the agency the tenants sign the lease and they sent it back to me. The next day the tenants were inside the apartment

Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 5 months ago.

There are some issues here. First, you need to obtain proof that the rent was actually paid. If it was not, then you could evict the tenants. If it was paid to the agency, under the agreement, then you would need to go after the realty agency, since that is who you entered into an agreement with and that is who is holding the money which you are entitled to, less their commission for finding someone. If they are unable to pay you and are keeping the money, you can call the police and get them involved. Moreover, you can file a civil lawsuit to recover as well, if the individuals are not charged criminally for their actions. It really makes no sense that they would take the money and enter into an agreement with you and simply not pay, so you want to make sure this was not a scam.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.

After speaking with the owner in hearing about his financial troubles, it sounds like they use the money that's held in their escrow bank account and spend it and replenish it. They may be moving money around in order to pay me the small sum of $2,700. Is it illegal for them to play around with the escrow money like that? It just sounds like they're having a hard time coming up with the money that they were already paid

Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 5 months ago.

No, it is not. Moreover, you can advise that if they do not pay you in full, you will also contact the State and report them and go after their license.

Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 5 months ago.

I just wanted to follow up and see if there is anything else I can answer or clarify. I am here to help so please let me know

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