How To Remove A Resident In Florida Real Estate
When someone breaches a lease or otherwise makes it untenable for them to continue living where they are, the average person thinks that the landlord can simply evict that tenant. However, the process is not, in reality, as easy as one might think. There are some situations in which eviction is the right procedure – but sometimes, other processes may actually be the appropriate remedy. If you have tenants you need to expel from your property, contacting a Tampa landlord/tenant attorney may be helpful in determining how to proceed.
Eviction Applies Only To Tenants
Florida law defines eviction fairly simply; a landlord can remove a tenant or lessee if any of 3 possible situations exists: (1) if the tenant refuses to vacate the premises and remains there without permission; (2) if the tenant has defaulted on rent, a landlord can serve a notice of eviction within 3 days of the default; and (3) if the tenant has failed to fix any other breach of the lease, the landlord must give 15 days’ notice, after which they can initiate proceedings. However, the most important factor in the statute is that a landlord-tenant relationship must exist between the two parties.
A landlord-tenant relationship is created when two parties execute a lease, or when a tenant pays rent (even if no written contract exists). If no contract exists, no relationship exists, and eviction is not the appropriate remedy. If, for example, you find that people are squatting on your property (that is, occupying it illegally, without permission), you have no rights against them as a landlord because they are not, legally speaking, tenants. However, Florida does have alternative options for situations like this.
Unlawful Detainer and Ejectment
In situations where eviction is not appropriate, two other possible options exist: ejectment or unlawful detainer. Unlawful detainer (sometimes called unlawful detention) is when someone refuses to vacate premises even after the refusal or revocation of any consent they had to be there. It is similar to an eviction, but it is filed against someone who has no claim whatsoever to a landlord-tenant relationship. It can also be filed by someone who does have the right to be on the premises – for example, tenant parents may file an unlawful detainer action against their adult child if their child refuses to move out.
Ejectment, by comparison, is a much more complex process, as it involves someone who has no right to be on the premises, but refuses to leave because they allegedly have some claim to the property itself. For example, if someone claims they own title to the property, and refuses to leave, the proper remedy is to file an action for ejectment, rather than unlawful detainer or eviction. Ejectment claims will generally last the longest of the three, as the person’s claim must be investigated and proven (or disproved) in court, even if you personally may believe it to be frivolous.
Call A Tampa Real Estate Attorney
While it exists, a landlord-tenant relationship governs not only how the two parties relate to each other, but how the property is treated. If you have a tenant – or a resident – that you want to vacate the premises, the decision of which type of lawsuit to file can be a difficult one. A Tampa real estate attorney can help determine the best path for you and yours. Attorney Alicia Seward and the Seward Law Office are ready to try and assist you today. Call our offices at 813-252-6789 to schedule a consultation.