‘A nightmare for a tenant’: Rental contracts to look out for

Deltona — A Deltona woman thought she had found the perfect home to rent but contacted Action 9 after paying thousands for a rental she couldn’t move into.

Sandra Wilson wishes she never came across the property manager’s website.

“We needed a place to live. It was within our price range,” Wilson said,

Wilson says she paid Florida Beach Coast $1,900 in July for deposits and fees, but was then told the property was no longer available. She claims a manager then told her they could put her in another home in Deltona if she paid an additional $2,000 upfront, for a total of $4,000.

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“Well, I’ve pulled it from my retirement because my son and I need a home fairly quickly,” Wilson said.

Before they were supposed to move in, Florida Beach Coast said the current tenants were refusing to leave and she would not have access to the property.

“That’s not my problem, you know, and he kind of made it seem like it should have been my problem,” Wilson said.

Florida Beach Coast has an F rating at the Better Business Bureau, with 33 complaints filed in the last year. One tenant claims he paid $3,700 then the management company changed the locks and kept his money.

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“It’s incredibly friendly to the landlord and a nightmare for a tenant,” said real estate attorney Karen Wonsetler.

Wonsetler said the lease Wilson signed gives the property manager 60 days to make the home available to her, which could leave Wilson in limbo for two months.

“Tenants have got to say in their lease, ‘Landlord, if you do not put me in possession on day one on the day that I expect to move in, the lease is broken. You have to return my security deposit,’” Wonsetler said.

According to Wilson, she’s tried to get her money back but Florida Beach Coast blocked her calls.

“They’re not going to respond to me, so I guess I’m going to have to take another option,” Wilson said.

Florida Beach Coast lists its office address inside this post office in Gotha. Todd Ulrich reached a manager by phone, who blamed the previous renter who refused to vacate. The manager also said the company had sent Wilson’s refund check to the wrong address and they will be sending another one this week.

“I just really need my money back so I can get another place to live,” Wilson said.

Always deal with a state-licensed property manager and avoid paying additional deposits and fees until moving day.

Todd Ulrich

Todd Ulrich, WFTV.com

I am WFTV's Action 9 Reporter.