ST. CLLOUD, Fla. — For four years, Robert Malave says he has rented his home in St. Cloud without a problem.
That changed Thursday when movers and a realtor showed up, tore the locks off and started throwing his family’s belongings on the front lawn, Malave said.
“They savagely came in here, like we were being robbed, just throwing stuff,” Malave’s daughter Stephanie said.
The property had recently gone into foreclosure and the new owner was trying to evict the family without the 30-day notice required by Florida law, Malave said.
His wife rushed home from work when she heard what was happening and had to be taken to the hospital after she collapsed from the stress, Malave said.
“All I was thinking about was them, my daughters and my granddaughter, and now my wife is lying in the hospital,” he said, crying. “I don’t even know how she’s doing right now.”
Stephanie Malave said having her belongings thrown onto the lawn was especially difficult because they included mementos from the Pulse attack in Orlando.
Three of her friends were killed in the attack, Stephanie Malave said.
“It broke me,” she said. “Completely.”
The realtor and movers left when they learned WFTV was coming to the home, Robert Malave said.
The realtor returned and offered a 30-day notice to the family, but not via certified mail as required by Florida law.
“I’d like to see some sort of stronger law that will make these people do this,” Robert Malave said.
The realtor told the family that he didn’t know there were tenants in the home when the property was purchased, Malave said.
Court records from the foreclosure, though, list the tenants.
A veteran’s advocate stopped by the home and has put Malave, who is a Vietnam veteran with severe nerve damage, into a program to help find his family a new home.
Cox Media Group