Officials: Tenants kicked out of unsafe building that landlord knew would be condemned

GROVELAND, Fla. — City of Groveland officials said they were forced to condemn a building that had 17 people living in it.

Steve Belisle was one of the residents forced out of the home city officials said was dangerous.

"Come knocking on my door one morning and told us to get out of the building," he said.

"It was just not a good situation on structural basis, safety basis and living conditions as well," said City Manager Redmond Jones.

Despite a warning of condemnation, the landlord took July's rent from the residents after being told they would have to leave if repairs weren’t made.

"Come the first of the month, all the tenants were worried, 'Are we going to get shut down?'" said Belisle. "The landlord and that man right there told us everything is fine, so they told everybody to pay the rent."

Owner Greg Burrows took about $400 from each tenant, residents said.

Burrows told Channel 9 the 107-year-old former hotel has become a maintenance nightmare, but he plans to get tenants' money back to them.

"Oh, yes. Absolutely," he said.

Jones said the landlord should have given residents more notice. He said the city will do all it can to help find the displaced tenants shelter.