It was a strange call to Help Me Howard, an 87-year-old woman said she was being evicted from her home because the association wanted to evict her son and then her story got even more bizarre. Which is why she needed Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
In 1983 Annie bought her mobile home in South Dade and you know what happened to it nine years later?
Annie Blackburn: “Andrew took it, demolished it for me.”
Most of her neighbors looked at the devastation got their insurance money and left. Annie did the opposite, bought a new mobile home and the lot next door.
Annie Blackburn: “Because I thought it was a good investment.”
Annie is now 87 and after breaking her hip is disabled. That’s when her son Milt decided it was time to move back from Michigan.
Milt Collins: “And this is a commitment I made to my mom years ago, that I would be here to take care of her because there’s, there’s nobody else that can do it.”
Milt and Annie thought it was a great idea. Their association didn’t agree.
Milt Collins: “And he said, well, you can’t stay here if you you know, if we don’t approve you, everybody here gets approval.”
Annie has the yellowed original association documents that says guests and tenants have to be approved by the Gateway West Board. Milt can’t find anything about a blood relative.
Milt Collins: “I said, ‘I’m not a tenant either, you know, I’m her son.’ I don’t need their approval.”
The association then filed to evict Milt. He didn’t attend the hearing because he thought it would be dismissed.
Milt Collins: “That’s where I made a mistake.”
When the eviction was issued, the association and their attorney then got the clerk to issue this.
A writ of possession that reads the sheriff was commanded to remove Milt Collin and all others residing in the property.
Annie Blackburn: “They went, throw me out for keeping him.”
Regarding their mobile home, the writ of possession says to put Gateway West Condominium Association in possession of it.
Annie was stunned.
Milt Collins: “Those they want, they want both of us out, and they want the property is what they want.”
Annie Blackburn: “I said, let them come ahead, and we will settle it real fast.”
Milt says if the judge says he has to go he will, but he doesn’t want his mother thrown out and her home taken from her.
Milt Collins: “I want to see them back off and have a, have all of this in court and go away.”
Legally, Howard, can a association do this to Mrs. Blackburn?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “No, you cannot evict the owner, Mrs. Blackburn, and take possession of her property. Technically, that’s what the writ of possession says, and someone made a big mistake. I am sure the law firm for HTE association never meant for her to be included, but the deputy who goes out to evict the residents doesn’t know that. Milt needs to get to court immediately to let the judge know what’s going on.”
Milt and Annie did that and filed a motion to set aside the eviction.
At the same time, we contacted the law firm representing the association. They were not happy with our story. An attorney for Becker wrote that our story is patently untrue because Mrs. Blackburn was never under any threat of eviction or the loss of her unit. Adding if the writ sought to evict Mrs. Blackburn she would have been specifically named.
After Milt’s motion, the judge declared the writ of possession was overly broad and she vacated it.
The judge then held a hearing on the case writing to clarify what appeared to be confusion as to the eviction proceedings. The judge wrote at no time did the plaintiff ever seek nor did the court ever grant an eviction as to Mrs. Blackburn, adding Mr. Collins would not be a considered an unauthorized tenant under the plaintiff’s association documents.
Just what Milt and Annie wanted.
Annie Blackburn: “Thumbs up. I won.”
Milt can stay, Annie doesn’t have to worry about having to go.
Milt Collins: “I firmly believe that Help Me Howard is the institution that is firmly ingrained in our help me situation around town, and I’d recommend it then.”
The judge asked Milt to register with the management office. He says he did and Annie filed a quick claim deed putting the property in her name and Milt’s name, to make sure they never have to go through this again.
Got a problem you want us to take possession of? Serve it to us and see if we can evict it from your life.
With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.