JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Under Florida's Landlord Tenant Act, the property owner has rights and so does the tenant. Before the tenant can be evicted, there has to be proper notice and even a court order. But for Jacksonville resident, Maritza Hudson, she said she was never properly notified.
Hudson is behind on her rent and claims her landlord may have crossed the line to get her to move.
"The landlord came and remove doors he said he needed to work on the bathroom floor and came in and remove front and back," she said.
Hudson moved into the two-bedroom, one-bath rental ten months ago and has been on a month-to-month lease.
"They also removed all sinks, stoves anywhere we can cook," Hudson said. "There is no toilet, nothing."
The rent is $400 a month, but she said she is two months past due, but she has fallen on hard times after losing her job.
The mother of four said she was surprised when her landlord's contractors made her home uninhabitable.
"He said if it is not comfortable without doors, just move," she said.
Hudson, a mother of four, said she was hoping to pay the rent but hasn't been able to get the money.
"I do acknowledge I owe the money but to remove doors is drastic," she said.
The landlord is Pastor Joseph James. He spoke with On Your Side in the sanctuary of his Northwest Jacksonville Church.
"I'm renovating the house and removing the doors, the toilet and kitchen are separate from the rent she owes me," James said.
James said he notified his tenant that he was going to work on the house, but there was a dispute over whether he could use the electricity.
"I intended to give them some kind of security (reinstall the doors) but they prevented me," he said.
The pastor said he has spent his life helping the homeless and the downtrodden and he is not trying to hurt his tenant.
"I went into this with good intentions," James said. "I have never mistreated one of God's children."
Hudson said she was made aware of work planned for the bathroom, that's all.
"I knew he was going to do bathroom floors, that was agreed upon, but I knew nothing about doors, sinks," she said.
James is entitled to his rent and Hudson is entitled to a habitable place to live.
The two spoke back and forth for minutes. It was nearly an hour of mediation between Hudson and James.
In the end, James said he will put the doors back on and he will help Hudson financially move if she finds a place within 15 days.
She agreed to meet his 15 days deadline.
When asked why he did not file for an eviction, James said the last time he did it cost him $3,000.