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Real estate Q&A: Should landlord evict tenant with new roommates? [Sun Sentinel :: BC-REAL-REALESTATE-QA:FL]

Q: We just renewed our tenant for a second year. When we rented to him, we agreed in the lease that it would be just him living there. Now it seems that he has let another person move in with a small child. Are we stuck with this situation? - Abe

A: No. A lease is a contract, and your tenant has agreed to more than just paying the rent on time. By moving additional people into the home without your permission, your tenant has breached the lease and may be subject to eviction.

But it's usually better to work something out than to have to deal with an eviction.

Have a discussion and find out who the newcomer is. The person just may be your tenant's relative down for a long vacation.

If it does turn out to be new roommates, you will have to decide whether to evict, do nothing or to make a new lease agreement, possibly adding a surcharge for the extra people for the remainder of the lease.

Should you decide to evict, make sure to carefully follow the law and provide your tenant proper notice to correct the situation before filing a lawsuit. If the tenant does fix the problem, he is allowed to stay.

Finally, if the newcomer is the tenant's new spouse and stepchild, you probably should speak to a lawyer about your rights as a landlord. But it may just be easier to let the tenant finish out the terms of the lease and address the situation before he signs a new one.

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ABOUT THE WRITER

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

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