Metro Weekly

Florida man says landlady evicted him after finding out he’s gay

County where discrimination allegedly occurred does not have a human rights ordinance protecting LGBTQ people

Randal Coffman – Photo: First Coast News.

A North Florida man claims his landlady evicted him after discovering that he is gay, reports First Coast News.

Randal Coffman, of Middleburg, Fla., said he moved into an apartment in the FoxMeadow Equestrian Estates in early December. On Dec. 15, his landlady, Jackie Cooper, told him he couldn’t have female guests over late at night.

Coffman replied that he wouldn’t have a problem abiding by Cooper’s rules, because he was gay. She then told him he had to leave because she objected to his sexual orientation.

Coffman took out his phone and began recording the exchange. In the video, Cooper is heard saying, “And you didn’t tell me you were gay until yesterday?”

“Why would I have to tell you I’m gay?” Coffman replies. “I don’t have to.”

“Do you think I want homosexuals coming back and forth in my place like that?” Cooper says. “Listen to me now. You have to leave this place.”

Coffman told First Coast News that Cooper gave him 10 days to leave and find a new apartment. He added that Cooper was very nice to him at first, but began harassing him after learning he was gay.

Cooper notes that Coffman had no lease, just a verbal month-to-month agreement. She also told First Coast News that Coffman refused to provide a copy of his driver’s license and complained that his guests were leaving their cars on her property.

Although Jacksonville, Fla., has a Human Rights Ordinance that protects LGBTQ renters from being evicted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, Clay County has no such ordinance. As such, legally, Cooper has a right to evict Coffman for any reason she sees fit. And because Coffman never signed a lease, Cooper cannot be held liable for breach of contract.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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