A roommate cannot sue her fellow roommates for unlawful eviction.
Plaintiff shared an apartment with two other roommates, defendants. The lease was signed by the father of one of the defendants and by the landlord. The father then signed a sublease with the parents of the other two roommates. In the middle of the tenancy the three roommates had a falling out and the two defendants demanded that Plaintiff move out. Defendants then locked the Plaintiff out of the apartment. After the police and a locksmith arrived, Plaintiff was only able to retrieve her personal possessions and her bed, but not other items of furniture and kitchenware that Plaintiff had paid for.
Plaintiff sued her room mates for the cost of the items which they refused to return to her, rent paid for the month in which she was locked out, for the return of her portion of the security deposit and for unlawful eviction.
The court ruled that the three roommates did not have a landlord – tenant relationship with each other. Therefore Plaintiff could not sue Defendants for unlawful eviction under §8.367(6), which applies only to landlords.
Regarding the security deposit, the court ruled that the security deposit was in the possession of the landlord, not the room mates. Thus Plaintiff could not recover it from the defendants.
The court did award Plaintiff $649.47 for the property kept by the defendants plus $295 court costs as the prevailing party.
BETANCES, v. MANGUAL, County Court, 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County. Case No. 0707312 SP 05 (06). May 7, 2008, 15 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 832a