One month ahead of deadline, Tampa landlord locks out residents behind on their rent

Despite no eviction notices being filed in court, locks were changed on the homes of more than 20 Tampa Park Apartments residents on Friday.

S. Kay Andrews and other leaders of the nonprofit group that owns Tampa Park Apartments stand to make millions of dollars from the sale of most of the 18-acre housing complex to a Ybor City developer.

After agreeing on an undisclosed price for the property earlier this year, they gave notice to tenants in about 270 apartments that they had until Nov. 1 to find somewhere else to live.

But early Friday, maintenance workers accompanied by security guards changed the locks on more than 20 residents whose possessions were still in their apartments. In some cases, the tenants were at work. Those at home were told they had a few hours to get their possessions out before their front doors were locked.

The result was a chaotic scene with some residents loading laundry baskets full of clothes and other possessions into the back of their cars. Feet away, other tenants argued with property management staff. In other spots, U-Haul trucks backed up to front doors of residents who had already planned their departures.

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