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Florida family homeless after mobile home park reneges on a 3-bedroom deal in Lutz

Family of 5 fights for full refund of $3,500 deposit
Posted at 5:26 PM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 19:44:47-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY — Alex and Crystal Burt thought they'd found the ideal mobile home park for their family of five. Their contract with the Livingston Mobile Home Park in Lutz shows they paid more than $3,500 to secure a three-bedroom unit. According to their paperwork, $500 of that money was a nonrefundable deposit to hold their new home. The documents estimated the move-in date of July 17th.

“We were excited, we were amped to move in,” Crystal said.

But the family’s excitement turned to fear when the couple said they showed up at the Livingston Mobile Home park July 17th to pick up their keys. The manager told them the three-bedroom was not available.

“She told us the people did not have their stuff out,” Crystal said.

With nowhere to go they moved in with Crystal's mother and placed everything they owned in storage. Then things went from bad to worse. The park, according to their emails, offered the couple a $3,100 refund but refused to return their initial $500 dollar deposit.

In one email to Taking Action Reporter Jackie Callaway a spokesperson said. "Ms. Burt was offered 2 different units and declined to take either one."

The Burt’s say they were never offered another three-bedroom in the Lutz location.

The family refused to accept anything other than a full refund. They point to the agreement which states the $500 deposit "...holds the property for the applicants..." Which the Burt’s say didn’t happen.

On September 2, two days after I contacted park management, the company cut an additional check for $400 dollars and returned all $3,500 dollars to the couple.

In cases involving deposit disputes, there is little recourse other than small claims court. And even if you win, there is no guarantee you’ll be able to collect.