Amy Austin & Tara Gordon – Tenant Damages

Amy Austin and Tara Gordon (Hoffman) rented a house from us in Cocoa, FL.


Initially, Amy Austin and one other tenant (not being named here) signed a lease with another family back in September 2015 through September 2016.  This lease was satisfied properly.  The other family had moved out and Amy wanted to stay along with the other tenant for another year renewal.  The name of the other tenant is being withheld because this individual ‘satisfied’ the lease and to the best of our knowledge, caused no damages or issues during their time.


The unnamed tenant moved out at the beginning of February 2017.  Upon that point, two months of rent became unpaid.  Amy was living strictly on disability and based on her income alone, it was not enough pay rent.  She insisted that she would be able to take care of the rent.


A three day notice was delivered to Amy Austin on April 20th 2017 after it was clear that she could not keep up with rent.  Upon this being served, we noticed that one of her “family” (as she claimed they to be) Tara Gordon (Hoffman) made a posting on a Facebook rental group seeking new living arrangements.  After looking over this individual’s profile, it was clear that they had been staying in the rental house without our knowledge or consent.


In addition, Tara Gordon (Hoffman) had two children and a husband at the time.  We decided to call the prior tenant and ask why they moved out.  The prior tenant specifically explained that Tara Gordon and her full family was living in the house since the beginning of the lease in September 2016 and they were not helping to pay anything towards rent or utilities.  The individual stated that he grew tired of the situation and the number of people in the house so he moved out.


We attempted to make things right with Amy Austin and Tara Gordon at that time.  It was understood that Tara’s husband (Steven Hoffman) was separated and already moved out of state.  The tenants pleaded with us indicating that they had no where else to go and they would be homeless if we did not help.


Because we try our best to help our tenants, we agreed to create a new lease agreement starting June 2017 with Amy Austin and Tara Gordon (Hoffman).  Rent was increased to pay back the past due rent over the 12 months.


Immediately when rent was due, they explained that Tara Gordon did not get paid until the next day and they still would not have the full amount to make rent.  They promised to do all they could pay just one day after rent was due.  That day came and went and when pressed on the situation again, they asked for a couple more days.  Upon checking with them at that time, Amy Austin explained that they had moved out of the house because they could not afford to live there any longer.


We took possession of the property and began assessing the situation.  The tenants left everything behind and significant damages.  Below are pictures of the home in the condition they left it in.

Amy Austin and Tara Gordon (Hoffman) also breached the lease by smoking inside the house.  A can of cigarette butts (as pictured above) were found. In addition, Amy Austin had a dog and during the time there, the dog had two litters of puppies which was also against the terms of their lease. There was significant dog feces on the floors that required cleaning.


This is a list of damages and repairs that were required:

  • The house had a smell of both dogs and smoking that had to be remediated
  • Several interior doors were damaged that required replacement
  • All of the closet doors were missing and required replacement
  • It was found several times that the air conditioner filter was not changed as per the lease agreement.  The return duct work was filthy and required cleaning
  • A service call was required on the air conditioner to clean the coils
  • Complete top-to-bottom painting was required due to the smoke damage and lack of cleanliness
  • Large amount of trash and junk left behind throughout the house
  • Major cleaning required due to dog feces, writing on appliances, walls, and floors and more
  • Broken kitchen cabinet required repair
  • Countertops required replacement due to the laminate buckling off (brand new countertops were installed two years ago)
  • Refrigerator had writing on the sides and a broken handle that required repair
  • Exterior lawn maintenance was not well-kept
  • Holes in the walls required repair
  • Full demolition and construction of the bath tub and tile surround
  • New toilet and vanity in the bathroom from damages
  • Ceiling fan replacements
  • Baseboard and trim repairs
  • The ceilings appeared to have smoke damage and all of the ceilings needed re-painted
  • Front glass storm door was damaged (we did not replace it, just took it down)
  • Drains in the house were clogged and required a plumber to clean out
  • Roach and pest infestations required extermination treatments


Below is a material list of items that were needed to put the house back into a move-in ready state:

  • Seven closet doors
  • Three interior doors
  • Light switches, outlets, and covers
  • New bathtub, shower head, cement backer board, thinset, grout, and tile to reconstruct bathtub
  • New toilet and bathroom vanity
  • Ten gallons wall paint
  • Five gallons ceiling paint
  • Five gallons paint for doors, trim, and baseboard
  • Lightbulbs
  • New locks since keys were not returned
  • Drywall and drywall materials
  • Three ceiling fans
  • Six pieces of baseboard
  • Three pieces of kitchen countertops
  • Six window blinds
  • New sliding patio window screen


Cost of materials: $1,785.67


The total cost of labor was $3,930.50


A security deposit of only $600.00 was obtained from the tenants.  Unpaid rent totaled $3,400.00 (not including any late fees).  Subtracting the security deposit, a total of $8,516.17 was the total debt that was submitted to the credit reporting agencies.


We would not recommend renting to Amy Austin or Tara Gordon (Hoffman) as future tenants based on how they left the house, the three months of unpaid rent, and the amount of damage we were left with.