WSVN — If you rent, you may know how it feels to come home and notice that someone has moved things around. One South Florida man suspected this of his landlord, so he installed a camera inside his apartment. Here is tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

When Oscar and his girlfriend were looking for a rental, they wanted a clean inexpensive place. Then a friend introduced them to his friend who had space in a mobile home.

Oscar Neu: "When I met him, he seemed like a straight forward guy. He said, ‘You seem like a good, reasonable couple.’"

It wasn’t fancy. It’s a small bedroom with a kitchenette and a bathroom. Things were fine, until they weren’t.

Oscar Neu: "The lights would be on in the kitchen, the lights in the bathroom would be on, and all of a sudden, we see things would be moved."

Oscar mentioned it to the landlord, but he pointed the finger…

Oscar Neu: "And he told me it could have been the previous tenants that were living there because they could have made a key."

After their closet was left open again and more things moved around, Oscar installed a camera to record things while they were gone. Two days passed, and then…

Oscar Neu: "On the third day was when I was shocked when this man just came in. He comes in without a shirt and tries to turn on the light."

That was Oscar’s landlord who went over to the bathroom, checked out the refrigerator and freezer, and left, only to return a few minutes later to stroll through again.

Oscar Neu: "We were violated. It was very frustrating."

Oscar says his landlord never asked for permission to come into their efficiency, so one day, Oscar told his landlord things moved while they were at work.

Oscar Neu: "He said, ‘Oscar, I can assure you, I have never been in there.’ And his girlfriend comes in and says, ‘Oscar, we have never been in there.’"

Oscar didn’t tell him he was recording them. The landlord came in a few more times, appearing to be checking the temperature in their place with a handheld device and looking at the fuse box in their room.

That’s when Oscar called Help Me Howard to see if his landlord could come into his place without asking permission.

Howard Finkelstein: "Absolutely not. Florida law is very specific that except for a true emergency, like a flood or fire, a landlord cannot enter your apartment without your consent and they must give you at least 12 hours notice. If they don’t stop when you tell them, call the police because even if they don’t take anything, it’s still a crime and it’s called trespassing."

Oscar then let his landlord know he had been recording him as he came into their room. The landlord responded for him to get out immediately, and told Oscar, ‘I am not returning your security deposit.’"

Oscar Neu: "He asked me to leave by the first of the month. ‘You have to leave by the first, there is no question about it.’"

That gave Oscar four days to get out. We then talked to the landlord. He told us he tried to contact Oscar to let him know he was going in to check on things, but that Oscar didn’t return his calls or texts. He then agreed to give Oscar more time to find another place to live, and he returned Oscar’s $400 deposit.

Oscar Neu: "I got a new place."

Oscar got this deposit back and got away from his landlord.

Oscar Neu: "He said, ‘I heard you called Help Me Howard and that wasn’t a nice thing to do. They told me I needed to give you a deposit, so, here is the check.’"

Glad we were able to help Oscar out of that situation. Now, if you have a nosy landlord, you might be thinking, "Just change the lock to keep them out," but you can’t. Every landlord has to have a key in case of a major leak or a fire. So, don’t waste your money buying a new lock.

Got a problem intruding in your life and think we could be a key to unlock things? Then contact us. Hopefully, we can get a break in solving it.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN
On Twitter: @helpmehoward7

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