Homeowner claims renter turned his home into a halfway house without consent

Posted at 10:51 PM, Mar 02, 2017

A Cape Coral homeowner claims the home he rented to a woman and her children was being marketed online as a halfway house without his permission.

"I'm embarrassed, I'm humiliated and I just don't want this to ever happen to anyone again," said Keith Dalla Costa.

During a short visit from Indiana to check on his Cape Coral rental property along SW 28th Terrace, Costa and his Fiancee Sharon Down's made a disturbing discovery.

"This is how we found out; we said 'hi we own this place, who are you?' They said, 'oh we live here, sometimes we stay and sometimes we go," said Downs.

According to Dalla Costa, the residents claimed they were required to sign contracts to live in the home.

In a police report, it states an officer interviewed two men inside who also claimed they had to sign a lease. One man told the officer the home was a "sober house," ran by a man.

The homeowners believe the woman they rented the home to set up the arrange.

"I can't understand how she can mislead us that her and her children were so happy to be in a safe neighborhood when they know they don't live here; when they know they're profiting from subletting my home to convicted felons," said Downs.

The homeowners showed Fox 4 a stack of contracts labeled "The Integrity House Welcomes You." The contracts laid out house rules for tenants, including consenting to randon drug tests.

Fox 4 news spoke to the woman who was renting the home who appeared to be in the process of moving out Thursday. She said she had no knowledge of the home being used as a halfway house under the name 'The Integrity House,' and claimed she didn't know about anyone signing a contract to live in the home she was renting.  

"I wasn't here for any of that and like I said, I think our lawyers are going to come to a good agreement," said Jennifer Feriola, who added she had to Google the name "Integrity House" because she hadn't heard of it until Fox 4 news called her.

"Yea when I did google it, because I was curious myself, I saw that there were 75 different places that came up under Integrity House all over the state of Florida so I can see why that would be confusing, said Feriola.

According to Feriola, the home was never marketed online as a halfway house. However, a search online of the term "The Integrity House of Cape Coral" reveals a link to a now defunct Facebook page.

The homeowners were able to get a screenshot of the Facebook page before it was deleted, and their home address is listed as the location of "The Integrity House of Cape Coral." The images from the page show a post from July 2016 announcing an open house pool barbecue. 

The Florida Association of Recovery Residences, the only agency which provides certification for halfway houses in the state, told Fox 4 news an application was filed for the home in question under the name "The Integrity House" but it was denied. 

In order to complete to complete the application process the applicant must provide proof they have permission from the homeowner. It is not clear who filed the application, however the Dalla Costa says he never authorized the use of his home as a halfway house. The lease Feriola signed stated subletting was not permitted.

"I hope they move out; I just want my home back," Downs.