The Epps family from TLC’s Seeking Sister Wife may be looking for a new place to live after their Florida landlord filed to have them evicted from their Orlando home in March!
The lease to the property is under the names of Marcus Epps’ first two wives, Taryn Lindsey and India Rosser. (Perhaps having his name on a Florida lease wouldn’t look good for Marcus’s plans to run for Euclid City Council reelection later this year?) The family relocated to their current house in June of last year after moving out of their previous Orlando residence.
The owner of the family’s current house sued Taryn and India for eviction on March 10 after alleging that the rent for February and March had not been paid. The filing includes a copy of the lease, which reveals that the Epps agreed to pay $3,475 a month for the 2,814 sqft, five bedroom, three bathroom home.
On April 7, the judge in the case entered a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff and ordered that the landlord be entitled to recover possession of the property. A writ of possession was to be issued to “provide for the removal of both persons and their possessions” from the property.
HOWEVER, the Epps family filed a motion to vacate the ruling and there is a hearing scheduled for May 8 to address their motion.
#SeekingSisterWife Lots of viewers are asking why the Epps family lives in Florida for the winter when Marcus is an elected official in Ohio. We looked into it, and just like every other Epps story, it led us down numerous rabbit holes. https://t.co/gZpNqHe71B
— Starcasm (@starcasm) June 25, 2022
The Epps have a very legitimate case
The judge entered the default judgment against the Epps SOLELY because they failed to deposit the unpaid rent (plus April’s rent) into the Court Registry before the deadline of April 5. That requirement was filed on April 3, and the Epps claim to have found out about the requirement late on April 5 — too late to make it to the bank in time.
Taryn filed for an extension on April 5. Here is her hand-written explanation:
The Epps were able to deposit the required money by April 7, but the judge still issued the default judgment in favor of the landlord. I believe the Epps have a solid argument, and I hope they are able to have the default judgment vacated so they can get their day in court.
In addition to their seemingly reasonable issue with the Court Registry payment, The Epps also deserve to get their day in court because they have a stellar argument to support why they chose to stop paying rent.
The Epps family answered the eviction complaint with a 97-page filing on March 28. The answer revealed that the Epps sent the landlord a “Notice To Withold Rent And Terminate Agreement” letter on February 1 that provided a list of concerns and issues that remained unaddressed. (Included below.)
“The letter was sent because of being ignored and what had started to become serious safety concerns,” India and Taryn write in the answer, adding a list of Florida statutes they believed their landlords were in violation of. “Many of these issues have remained or worsened since February 1, 2023.”
India and Taryn also argue in the answer that they were never actually served with an eviction notice. “We asked why they didn’t serve us with one and were shown a photo of a piece of paper of some sort folded and wedged between one of our doors at our house,” they reveal. “We never received any folded-up letter, let alone a notice to vacate or we would have responded accordingly.”
The skeletons continue to dance out of the closet of #SeekingSisterWife star Marcus Epps. In addition to his numerous political scandals, he was also arrested on multiple domestic violence charges in 2008! Get all the details: https://t.co/NlbDOIxcVQ pic.twitter.com/xdArWG7I6S
— Starcasm (@starcasm) June 20, 2022
The Epps’ Notice To Withold Rent And Terminate Agreement Excerpt
This letter is to notify you of our intent to WITHHOLD rent payments to courts if the following issues are not satisfied within 30 days of receiving this notice (Florida law requires 7 days).
As always, our rent has been paid through the end of this month and we wish to no longer make payments to you as some of these issues are hazardous conditions to live in and we cannot continue subjecting our children to these conditions.
* We continue to be harassed by the HOA here regarding lawn care or lack thereof. Included in our rent is lawn care.
* We continue to not have electricity of any sort on the exterior of the property which has prevented us from being able to use the property freely.
* We continue to not have electricity of any kind in the master bathroom. GFI electrical outlets are required in bathrooms for safety reasons and our house continues to have none after we expressed this as a concern several months ago (in our move-in inspection). We have a right to live in a home that is up to code and safe for our family.
* We continue to have a pool that is inoperable. Pool maintenance is included in our monthly rental payment. This routine maintenance has not happened on a weekly basis as we pay for it on a consistent basis. As a result, the pool has not been able to be used regularly. We have been constantly scared of what the result of inhaling mass amounts of mold will do to us and/or our children. On top of the cleanliness and unsafe conditions, the water level continues to leak and the pump doesn’t work. My daughter (****** who is on the lease) has sensitive skin and it had been under control. We are concerned that the pool may be the cause of her recent outbreaks.
* We continue to have damaged gutters and water issues in our driveway because of this negligence. When we first moved in we were told the previous tenants damaged the gutters and it would be repaired that week. These issues remain today as this was never resolved.
* We continue to have an excess water bill because of damage done to the irrigation system by lightening or the landscapers. Neighbors say landscaper, landscaper says lightening. Either way, this caused a very expensive leak and we have not yet been credited or compensated for the costs we have had to incur since then. It took forever to repair leaving us with more and more expenses connected to this.
* We continue to have torn screens on patio doors as when we listed it in the initial move-in inspection/checklist. They sent someone to fix broken hardware on doors but replaced no screens.
* We continue to experience nervousness as we were instructed by a vendor who came to service the dryer (appliance) that our house could catch fire without the dryer being connected properly, said he would notify property management, order the part and come back to fix it and we still do not have this resolved.
* We continue to have backed-up water in the main bathroom sink. This was stipulated in our move-in checklist also.
* We continue to experience water shooting out of the top of the showerhead in the master bath. This was stipulated in the initial checklist.
This place isn’t worth the amount we have been paying in lump sum payments since the beginning of this lease agreement. We moved in with the expectation that these things would be addressed and we have been getting patchwork on some issues since the beginning and ignored on the rest of them. This isn’t fair.
These uninhabitable conditions prohibit things such as unsafe conditions for living and price gouging as well. We want a safe place to live that doesn’t require us to pay to live outside of our home during times of unsafe conditions, and a home in which we are not harassed and are not dodging our neighbors (HOA leadership) because our house is not in compliance. Please address these issues. If we do not hear back from you regarding these quality of life issues we will assume what we have been thinking lately, and that is that we have been flat-out abandoned and should file suit and subsequently vacate the premises.
India Rosser & Taryn Lindsey
The Epps Countersue Their Landlords!
In their answer, the Epps turned the tables on their landlords by countersuing for $12,458.59! Here’s a full breakdown of the amounts listed in the answer:
Pursuant to Florida Statute 83.56 lb we have and wish to file a counterclaim in the amount of $12,458.59 broken down as follows:
$3,920.00 valuing each month the pool has been inoperable at $980.00 for the 4 months we have not been able to use it. The pool is still inoperable today. No pump, no service, and severe green mold. (See attached Exhibit “A”)
$2606.25 for the 9 months we were unable to use the electricity in the master bathroom, all exterior outlets that exist inoperable and we have every good reason to have thought all outlets we saw were in working condition and assured upon discovery of the contrary they would be repaired, but they never were. The bathroom also went without proper electricity per city code during the entire duration of our stay (no exhaust fans working or electrical outlets. No GFI outlets are present). Many of these things were pointed out in emails on June 27th post-move-in inspection/checklist process and still have gone unaddressed to date. The statute was created for instances like these to protect renters.
$120.00 was overcharged for 1st month of rent as the advertised amount was not the amount in the lease agreement. We later realized this and corrected the amount we pay. We just found out recently they continued to assess fees for this that we refused to pay as we were paying according to our lease.
$670.47 water bill costs incurred due to the irrigation system leak. This is a $579.53 increase from the previous bill. The $579.53 is the amount we included in our total counter ask. (Attached you will find as defendants exhibit D these bills as well as the agreement for increased bill)
$1105.93 (for first two months ONLY) On average Florida residents spend about $206.00 on electricity. Our first electric bill as we had to wash each load twice to get the spin cycle to enact properly to no avail causing at least two 80-minute dryer cycles to dry one small load. $826.13 was the first electric bill. We are an average size family. This was directly a result of the multiple loads in both the washer and dryer. The following bill was $691.80 still $485.80 above the Florida average. (See attached Defendants exhibit E to show these bills and current bills where it shows we continue to have to wash due to inadequate appliances for $3475.00 per month rental rate)
$3595.00 Security Deposit. This property is in excellent condition in comparison to when we moved in and considering all the issues we have. We have been inconvenienced greatly and request our deposit to be returned in full. (See Plaintiffs Attached Exhibit A)
$280.72 Laundry Expense, we went on to wash and dry loads double times increasing both our water and electric bill each month. This was what we had to do as we knew we couldn’t afford the rental payment plus pay this amount of money multiple times per month for laundry. $251.16 FOR 2 BAGS OF ICE on average per day for approximately 42 days. We used the portal and our email/text communication to determine the number of days we were without a refrigerator during the duration of our stay.
Rather than say as a defendant that I want to find a dollar amount to deduct everywhere an inconvenience was caused (consistent urine smell in both master and main bathroom, water shooting out at master shower heard, master sink faucet still not attached properly, item from the original checklist at move-in), pool continuing to leak and inoperable from lack of weekly service or working pump, months without having a working fridge, etc.) that diminished the value of our home, I include all these things in the previously mentioned totals. I just want to simply offer us up for mediation to come to an agreement that is fair and satisfies us all and makes everyone whole. We just want to be properly compensated and move on. The amount of anxiety this has caused over this past year is exhausting.
Attached you will also find supporting photographs which are defendant exhibits F-K.
India Rosser & Taryn Lindsey
#SeekingSisterWife We have an update on the Epps family's eviction case! (In case you missed it, they were evicted from their Florida rental house in April.) https://t.co/xnA4K9Nsw2
— Starcasm (@starcasm) May 14, 2023
Asa Hawks is a writer and editor for Starcasm. You can contact Asa via Twitter, Facebook, or email at starcasmtips(at)yahoo.com