Recovering from a home burglary can be frustrating and costly. While the guilty parties disappear or land in jail, landlords and tenants are left picking up the pieces.
A Jacksonville woman said she was unsure how to proceed when her landlord told her the cost to repair her broken door frame and a busted window would be subtracted from her security deposit or even added to her monthly rent.
Ms. Hicks, a mother who did not want her first name identified for safety reasons, said she's been the victim of two kick-ins and burglaries since December 12.
"Everyday I wake up I look around in the room to make sure the glass isn't broke, I can't sleep at night," she said. "When I came home after the break-in, all my doors were open so I know they went into every room in the house."
Hicks said the thieves ransacked her home and took electronics, Ipads, laptops and video games belonging to her daughter. Her front window, door jam, and sense of security were all shattered.
"Now I just feel like I have to watch my back when I go out," Hicks said.
After the second police call out to her house, the Hicks' landlord told First Coast News they couldn't afford to pay again for the repairs. Due to the double-hit in a short amount of time, the landlord presumed a person was targeting Hicks and felt she should be responsible for the costs.
Glen Banner, a landlord-tenant attorney in Jacksonville, said Florida law places certain requirements on landlords to keep their property safe for tenants. Fixing a broken door and a shattered window would fall into the landlord responsibilities, Banner said, regardless of how many times it has happened.
Banner also said unless it's stated in the lease agreement, any charges added to the rent that are not agreed to, could be illegal.
He recommends any demands for repairs be made to the landlord in writing, not just verbally or over the phone.
After speaking to First Coast News, Hicks's landlord agreed to work with her on the costs and give her the option to move out if she feels it's unsafe.
For now, Hicks just wants to restore all she's lost and get through the holidays without another invasion.
Her burglary cases remain open investigations with JSO.