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Disabled man being evicted by sister

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Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 6:02 pm | Updated: 11:48 am, Wed Dec 19, 2012.

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. - Just in time for the holidays, A Nokomis man suffering from a brain injury is being evicted from his home.  Roger Skelton, who is known for his artwork, says losing his house and studio would be devastating. He says what is even harder to swallow is it's his own sister kicking him out.

"In 1980 I was hit by a drunk driver."  He's unable to do simple things like driving and writing, but out of his home studio he can do one thing really well. "I am able to paint."

So well he has become known for it, selling some of his original works. "It is therapeutic is what I would call it. I like the fact that I can do it."

However, the day after his 62nd birthday on December 11th, Roger found a sheriff's officer at his door with a notice. After seven years of paying rent on time, his landlord wants him gone. "I got a five day notice that I needed to do something."

The kicker is that Roger's landlord is one of his five sisters.  She is unhappy with him and the fact he has a roommate -- something an initial letter sent in November indicates isn't allowed. "She wants to be in control of my living situation and that is not going to happen."

"This is a very unusual case. Very unusual." Elizabeth Boyle heads up Gulf Coast Legal Services. They help the poor and elderly in our area with legal issues. "If the sister wanted to get the house because she was in dire need and needed the money that would be a whole different question. I don't think that is what I am hearing here."

We talked to Roger's sister Virginia Greenwood over the phone Tuesday. She says she has worked to help Roger over the years, with he herself even getting a second job because she claims the rent doesn't cover the mortgage. She also says that she doesn't want to do it for someone else living there too, and that this issue has been going on for years.

Roger is concerned his artwork and belongings will be thrown out on the street. Boyle says he may have some additional rights. "They may be subject to the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. That requires a landlord to make reasonable accommodations for their tenant for needs that they have."

Roger says he is willing to move from the modest home, he just needs more time. "It's my home but it is her house. She can do what she wants. She can evict me in a reasonable term. Thirty days is not reasonable for me."

Gulf Coast Legal Services tell us they are looking into Roger's case and hope to help him come to a resolution soon.

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