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Tampa Real Estate Lawyer > Blog > Landlord Tenant > Unlawful Detainer Vs Eviction

Unlawful Detainer Vs Eviction


Most people are familiar with the concept of eviction, either through personal experience or due to pop culture. However, sometimes the eviction process is not the right one to use with a person who may be somewhere they should not be. Florida law differentiates between tenants of property and non-tenants, and because of this, there are two different processes that one must use in order to expel each one from property. It can be difficult to determine which to use, though, as sometimes it is not always easy to tell which category your unwelcome visitor may belong in.

Eviction Of Tenants

Residential eviction is a fairly standard process, and if the tenant cooperates, it is a process that does not have to last a long time or be particularly combative. Someone must be a tenant in order to be evicted – that is, a landlord-tenant relationship must exist between the evicter and the evictee – and this can be established in three possible ways. There must either be a written lease, a verbal agreement, or an exchange of rent for ‘use and enjoyment’ of the premises. A written lease is always recommended, but it is not absolutely necessary for a landlord-tenant relationship to exist.

If a landlord-tenant relationship exists, an eviction will be proper in two main scenarios: either when a tenant refuses to leave the premises after proper notice is provided, or when a tenant simply “holds over” (remains on the premises) without the landlord’s consent or permission. Sometimes, a landlord will simply allow a tenant to remain on the premises after the expiration of a lease – this usually creates what is known as a tenancy at will – but their permission to do so is key.

Summary Procedure May Be Available

Unlawful detainer actions are not used with tenants; rather, they are used for guests (uninvited or invited) who refuse to leave the premises when ordered to leave. This applies to both commercial and residential properties, but the same requirements apply before an action can be brought. The major difference between unlawful detainers and evictions is that no landlord-tenant relationship can exist in an unlawful detainer action – the defendants in these types of suits are generally squatters in commercial properties, or invited guests who wear out their proverbial welcome in residential homes. If successful, a landlord can recover possession of the property, as well as monetary damages.

Be advised that if your case is relatively straightforward, you may be able to use what Florida refers to as “summary procedure” for either an unlawful detainer or an eviction. Essentially, summary procedure speeds up the time frame for any proceeding you choose to mount, and is most often used in cases where the facts are relatively clear. Each case is different, and a more complex case may be better served by utilizing a longer time frame, but in urgent cases, knowing that an expedited proceeding may be available can be extremely helpful.

Contact A Tampa Eviction Attorney

Whether you are the landlord, the tenant, or the guest being ordered off property, you have a right to your day in court, and Florida landlord-tenant law can be complex. Tampa landlord/tenant lawyer Alicia Seward and the Seward Law Office can help to make the process clearer for you and help clarify your best options moving forward. Call our office today at 813-252-6789 to schedule a consultation.

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