Maria Cazanes (also said to be ‘Casanas’) has lived in her apartment in Miami Beach, Florida, for 28 years. She appears to be a frail 75-year-old woman. Her landlord says that she has too many cats. We don’t know how many cats she has as this information has not been reported at the time of writing this post. The building is at 735 Euclid Avenue.
Her landlord refused to renew the lease and summarily kicked her out of her apartment and at the same time threw all her belongings on the ground which you can see in this distressing photograph. He scattered them around the place like garbage, disdainful of the fact that they are her possessions. This may be illegal in eviction proceedings. The reports do not discuss the legality or otherwise of the landlord’s eviction of Maria.
Local residents support her. They have rallied around. She desperately needed help at that moment because Hurricane Dorian was about to make landfall.
It is reported that her cats have been temporarily rehomed at a shelter. Maria and her brother and son have been rehomed at a shelter (Salvation Army or a Red Cross shelter in Northwest Miami-Dade -conflicting reports). Her possessions, as far as I can tell, remain outside her home.
Firefighters were involved in order to break down the front door to recover her medication.
Maria said that she had paid her rent. Her landlord has gone to ground and is unprepared to face the press and make a comment. A man walking by her apartment, perhaps noticing the belongings lying around, called the police and they responded together with the Miami Beach Fire Department.
UPDATE: I have learnt, thanks to a colleague of mine, Anne, that Maria Cazanes lived with her brother Ricardo (81 years of age) and her disabled son Nelson. All three were evicted.
This is important because all three people are vulnerable. We don’t know the exact issues concerned regarding the eviction.
Concerned citizens have responded and Diana Burnet has organised a gofundme.com fundraiser which at the time of writing this article has raised $1280 out of a $5000 target.
I am also told that the landlord has lied to the police. I am also told he is a ‘slum landlord’ who does provide leases and insists on cash payments. His name is Mark Muhlrad and he wanted Maria and family out. He refused to accept rent even though Maria and family was prepared to pay it.
Comment: it would be nice to see the lease. I would love to help this woman. I’m very good at leasehold and the lease may in fact support her. It’s just a matter of reading it word for word to see if she could prove that the landlord is in breach of the lease for evicting her in this manner.
Even if she is in breach of the lease, it was a heartless act at this particular moment and in such a dramatic and insensitive way. To throw all her belongings out like this on the ground is horrible. It looks like an illegal eviction to me. In the UK you have to go to court to do something like this. However, perhaps this was a final act after lengthy proceedings. As I said the reports don’t cover this aspect.
I’d have thought that there would be protection for leaseholders under these circumstances. A judge might have stopped this happening bearing in mind Maria’s vulnerability and her family’s.
If the landlord broke the law (and I don’t know if he has) I would hope that Maria challenges the actions of the landlord if she can find someone to help.
Source: Local ABC 10 News. I have reported all that they have reported. If and when more info comes in I’ll amend and update the article.
Note: This page has been updated several times as events unfold.