Can I void a lease agreement after finding out that a tenant has 2 felony convictions?

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Can I void a lease agreement after finding out that a tenant has 2 felony convictions?

He moved in last month to my rental house with 2 other unrelated people. I later found out that he had 2 felony convictions. I want to evict him now.

Asked on June 19, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Does the lease give you the right to cancel if the tenant has any felony convictions or lies about his criminal background (assuming that he did lie--remember it's not a lie if you never asked the question)? Or was there some application filled out prior to the lease  being granted, which application asked about felony convictions and on which he lied? In those case, you *may* have the right to terminate his tenancy, though before doing so, bring the lease to an attorney to review it to make sure it is not in any way discriminatory or violates any laws.

If the lease or application however did not address criminal convictions or felonies, then you'd have no right to evict him--regardless of how you feel about his felonies, he has not violated the lease or done anything giving you grounds for eviction. Landlords may *not* evict simply becase they don't trust, don't feel safe with, etc. a tenant, not as long as the tenant does not violate the lease and also does not attack the landlord or his family or damage landlord property.


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