A WINK News exclusive. The property owner of a Cape Coral duplex is talking to us, after learning police arrested her tenant for allegedly making meth inside her home.
In less than one week's time, Cape Coral Police busted two meth labs in the city: The first on NE 16th Terrace, and another on SE 24th Avenue.
Jackie Ferguson built the duplex 30 years ago, and says her tenant has been living here for about five years. During this time, she saw nothing out of the ordinary.But now she has legal questions as police start to crack down on what they call a "growing trend" in the city.
"I looked over to the TV at WINK News and there's our duplex! I recognized it instantly. Tuned in, and we were just shocked," said Ferguson.
In this exclusive interview, Jackie Ferguson says she couldn't believe her eyes, when she saw her tenant Natalie Vance accused of making meth in her own duplex.
"We've had an occasion or two to meet her and go fix something in her unit, and she seems like a nice young gal. We would never have any clue that she was doing something like this," Ferguson said.
But she has questions about what to do next. Real estate attorney Kevin Jursinski tells WINK News, a landlord has the right to preserve and protect property, and since this situation deals with criminal activity, he says the lease, is violated.
He believes the property owner can even go as far as locking the tenant out of the home for the safety of the community.
He says, if the tenant is locked up in jail, it could be considered a form of abandonment of the property. "There's a dangerous condition there, a self-help lock out under those conditions would be one of the rare times a residential landlord might well be within their rights to do that," he said.
He also suggests filing a suit and getting an immediate temporary injunction, which gets the court involved as soon as possible, and then he says you can start the eviction process.
"Also what concerns us, the other residents and property owners in the neighborhood, we want them to know this is unacceptable and we are shocked and we will take care of it as soon as we can, as quickly as we can," said Ferguson.
As for the city, it cost the Cape Coral Police Department $800 dollars to remove the toxic waste from the duplex.