Are you considering removing someone from your residential property? There are many reasons why you may want to remove an individual from your property. For example, the person may have stopped paying rent; or you allowed the person to stay free of charge for a set period of time, and now they refuse to leave; or the person is disputing your ownership to a portion of the land. It is a common misconception that an eviction is the only way to remove an individual who does not want to leave on their own. However, depending on the situation, there are several ways in which such removal can be accomplished in Florida.

Generally speaking, you may remove someone from your residential property in Florida by eviction, an unlawful detainer action, or ejectment. I will highlight some of the main differences between the three.

Eviction

In simple terms, eviction is “the dispossession of a tenant of a leased property by force or by legal process.” Residential evictions in Florida are governed by the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, Florida Statutes Chapter 83 – specifically, sections 83.40 – 83.683.

An eviction typically arises from an underlying contract. There must be some kind of landlord-tenant relationship, which is usually created by a lease agreement. For example, Landlord Z has a one-year lease with Tenant A. Tenant A breaches one or more of the lease terms, and Landlord Z then decides to bring an eviction action. The one-year lease is the contract in that example.

Additionally, a landlord-tenant relationship may also be created by the actions of the parties. If Landlord Z allows Tenant A to reside in the property and accepts payment in exchange for possession, there is likely a landlord-tenant relationship even without a written lease. Under this type of scenario, an eviction pursuant to Chapter 83 would be appropriate.

Unlawful Detainer

In contrast to an eviction, an unlawful detainer is typically applicable when there is no rental or lease agreement and there is no dispute about the title to the property. This section does not apply to residential tenancies. For example, Alice allows Bob to live in her home; after some time passes, Alice no longer wants Bob to live with her so she asks Bob to leave and he refuses to leave.

An unlawful detainer typically arises when the person refusing to leave is a:

  • Roommate
  • Boyfriend
  • Girlfriend
  • Family Member

Florida Statutes § 82.04 governs unlawful detainer actions. The statute allows Alice to bring an unlawful detainer action, which is a summary procedure under Florida Statutes § 51.011, “at any time within 3 years after the possession has been withheld from the party against his or her consent.”

Ejectment

The third option when removing someone who is not a tenant from the property is by an ejectment. Ejectments typically arise when two or more people claim ownership of real property and there is a dispute; it may be a boundary dispute or a dispute as to the rightful owner of the property. In other words, there is no landlord-tenant relationship.

Florida Statutes § 66 governs ejectment. One of the requirements of an ejectment action is that the Plaintiff must prove chain of title to the property. For example, if John wants to bring an ejectment action to eject Jane, John must prove that he is the rightful owner of the subject property and that Jane has deprived him of possession of his property.

If John is successful in proving he is the rightful owner and Jane is ejected, Jane may have a possible claim of betterment. The statute provides that Jane may demand that the value of any improvements she made to the property be assessed and awarded to her as compensation. There are some other related requirements.

In summary, there are several ways to remove someone from residential property in Florida. It depends on the facts and circumstances.

For more information regarding unclaimed property or real estate matters, contact St. Louis Law, P.A. at 954-745-4665 or email us at info@stlouislawpa.com. You can also find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube.

Visit our website to learn more: www.stlouislawpa.com