(WSVN) - Their father left them a small apartment complex 15 years ago, but when they recently tried to cancel a contract he signed, they were told they could not. Are the heirs bound by a contract that was signed years ago? It’s why the call came in to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

In 1966, after fleeing Cuba, Eduardo Urivazo came to Miami, worked hard and bought a small apartment complex.

Eduardo Urivazo: “Oh, this is his life. Hard earnings right here. No vacation, just hard work.”

In 2008, Eduardo passed away and left the six-unit complex in Miami to his children.

He wanted his son, also named Eduardo, to take care of the property.

Eduardo Urivazo: “Uh, I am honored that he chose me, but with that it requires responsibility.”

One responsibility for Eduardo, keeping the complex profitable.

Eduardo Urivazo: “I noticed that the price for the commercial pickup of the trash was getting too expensive.”

Once a week, the trash company picks up the garbage. After the price kept rising, Eduardo started contacting other haulers.

Teresa Urivazo: “Right now, I think we’re paying like $1,300 where we’ve gotten quotes of $700.”

Eduardo and Theresa contacted the trash company to stop them from picking up… and were told, “You have a contract with us.”

Teresa Urivazo: “The contract was signed by my father-in-law, and that was back in 2008.”

Eduardo got the old contract his father signed with a company called General Hauling. It was a one-year deal, but that company was bought out by waste connections and their salesman said that one year deal is still in effect.

Eduardo Urivazo: “Those types of contracts renew themselves every five years, every ten years automatically, unless you cancel it 30 days prior.”

That 10-year clause from the old company is in there, but Teresa and Eduardo don’t think its valid because it was signed by a man who has passed with a company that doesn’t exist.

Teresa Urivazo: “My husband tried to explain to them that he did not have a contract with them, that my father-in-law was the one that had a contract and my father-in-law passed away.”

The salesman disagreed and said they could not break the contract without paying a large penalty.

Eduardo Urivazo: “This this has been going on for almost two years and we have not been able to cancel. And they continue to just raise the rate every month.”

Eduardo’s father wanted him to take care of the complex. This trash trouble, with the cost almost twice as much as other companies, has left him feeling like garbage.

Teresa Urivazo: “We’re big fans of Help Me Howard, and my husband came up with the idea. Let’s call Help Me Howard.”

Thank you for doing that. And so, is a contract signed by a man who has passed away with a company that doesn’t exist still valid, Howard?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “In this case, yes. When the children inherited the apartment, they inherited the contract and are bound by it. But there is another way out of the contract. Florida has a law that says before this 10-year renewal can take place, the trash hauler has to notify Eduardo 30 to 60 days ahead of time, giving him the opportunity to cancel. Because they didn’t, he has the right to cancel the contract immediately.”

We contacted waste connections and they could not have been more helpful.

They told us they were canceling the trash contract as Eduardo wanted. They blamed the misunderstanding on their sales rep, and as a nice gesture to Eduardo, they said they will pick up his trash for free for a month to give the family time to find another trash company.

Eduardo Urivazo: “So this is going to be a great help for us.”

Eduardo says they have a company in mind at a lower price. Everything is coming together after their call to Help Me Howard.

Eduardo Urivazo: “So finally, with your help, we were able to put this to rest and we were able to move on. So we’re very thankful.”

Nice to be able to help you. And a lot of different types of companies besides trash like pest control and alarm systems have contracts that automatically renew unless you cancel them.

Keep an eye on those, and if you inherit something or buy a business, be aware of the contracts before you get surprised by them.

Problems dumped in your lap? Don’t let them trash you. Haul it over to us and we’ll try to container for you.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
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