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Gibsonton renter says investment company ignored lease, raised rent

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GIBSONTON, FL (WFLA) -

Michael Lima has rented a home in Gibsonton's King Lake's neighborhood for two years and recently renewed his lease for another two years. He and the landlord agreed on rent of $1,100 a month, and he's had no problems.

"This is the reason why we took the home," Lima said. "I'm comfortable with $1,100."

Lima said he asked his landlord earlier this year to renew is lease for another two years, and the landlord agreed. But a few months later, Lima's landlord sold the home to Invitation Homes, which owns and manages thousands of rental homes in Tampa Bay.

Invitation Homes said Lima needed to sign a new lease - for $1,485 a month - or move out by Nov. 1.

"If they want to sign another lease, fine, I'll sign another lease," Lima said. "But it's going to be for $1,100 for the next two years, like I agreed with the prior landlord.

Lima says he sent his paperwork to the company three times, but no one with invitation would acknowledge his current lease. So he turned to 8-on-your-side.

Thousand are renting homes in the Bay area and depend on their leases to guarantee their rents. So what are your rights?

If an investor or bank buys your home, federal law requires them to honor your existing lease.

After inquires from Channel 8, a company representative called Lima to see his current lease will be honored, after all.

If you find yourself in this situation, provide a copy of your lease to your new landlord and keep all correspondence in writing.

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