Florida law allows for removal of a person living in your home by filing a lawsuit. However, the type of action you file depends on the nature of the tenancy. If you, as a property owner have someone residing in your property without legal right and title and the individual will not leave voluntarily, this is called an Ejectment. While different from an eviction, which is a remedy if there is a lease or other document which establishes the conditions upon which the person or persons residing in the subject property must abide by, in an ejectment action, the person living there has no lease, and does not make payments. An eviction is not the proper remedy for removal of a person or persons who are NOT subject to a lease and do NOT pay rent, the mortgage or utilities in exchange for use of the property. In the case of a person or persons who are enjoying the use of a property and are not subject to a lease and who do not pay rent or contribute to the upkeep and property related expenses, the process by which to remove such person or persons is a lawsuit known as an Ejectment.
Florida law allows for a legal action know as an Ejectment to remove a non-rent paying person living in your home, who has not signed a lease and has no title or interest in the property. Often times, this involves a person whom you have allowed to live in your home and who later refuses to leave when further use is revoked or cancelled. Generally, there types of actions involve boyfriend or girlfriends, a family member or a friend who has been invited to stay in your home, who has for some reason become an unwelcome guest and refuses to leave when asked.
An ejectment is a lawsuit filed to which the defendant(s) has/have 20 days to file a answer just as in most normal lawsuits. If no answer is filed within the required time period, a motion for default is filed and once entered by the court, a final judgment may be issued ordering the person or persons to leave the home. If they do not leave voluntarily, a writ of possession will be issued to the sheriff and they will come to the property and ask for the person or persons to leave and if they do not leave voluntarily, they will remove them from the property for you.
If the person or persons do file an answer, a hearing will be required and if they “lose,” meaning that the court has determined that there are no defenses as to why they should be allowed to remain in the property, the court will issue a final judgment and order requiring the person to leave your home, as above, if they do not leave voluntarily, the sheriff will remove them for you.
Recognizing that in many cases the person or persons who reside in your property and refuse to leave may have have certain rights, it is best to consult with an attorney to see exactly what cause of action you have.
If you need to hire the services of an attorney to remove someone from your property, you should contact me. My direct line is (305) 669 5280 and I am happy to provide a free consultation to assess your situation.
Chapter 66, Florida Statutes- Ejectment, is the statute by which an unwanted guest or guests may be removed from your property. The 2021 version of Florida Statutes 66 is shown below:
(1) RIGHT OF ACTION.—A person with a superior right to possession of real property may maintain an action of ejectment to recover possession of the property.
(2) JURISDICTION.—Circuit courts have exclusive jurisdiction in an action of ejectment.
(3) NOTICE.—A plaintiff may not be required to provide any presuit notice or presuit demand to a defendant as a condition to maintaining an action under this section.
(4) LANDLORD NOT A DEFENDANT.—When it appears before trial that a defendant in an action of ejectment is in possession as a tenant and that his or her landlord is not a party, the landlord must be made a party before further proceeding unless otherwise ordered by the court.
(5) DEFENSE MAY BE LIMITED.—A defendant in an action of ejectment may limit his or her defense to a part of the property mentioned in the complaint, describing such part with reasonable certainty.
(6) WRIT OF POSSESSION; EXECUTION TO BE JOINT OR SEVERAL.—When plaintiff recovers in an action of ejectment, he or she may have one writ for possession and for damages and costs or, at his or her election, may have separate writs for possession and for damages and costs.
(7) CHAIN OF TITLE.—The complaint and the answer must include a statement setting forth, chronologically, the chain of title upon which the party will rely at trial. Copies of each instrument identified in the statement must be attached to the complaint or answer. The statement must include the names of the grantors and the grantees, the date that each instrument was recorded, and the book and page or the instrument number for each recorded instrument. If a party relies on a claim or right without color of title, the statement must specify how and when the claim originated and the facts on which the claim is based. If defendant and plaintiff claim under a common source, the statement need not deraign title before the common source.
(8) TESTING SUFFICIENCY.—If either party seeks to test the legal sufficiency of any instrument or court proceeding in the chain of title of the opposite party, the party must do so before trial by motion setting up his or her objections with a copy of the instrument or court proceedings attached. The motion must be disposed of before trial. If either party determines that he or she will be unable to maintain his or her claim by reason of the order, that party may so state in the record and final judgment shall be entered for the opposing party.
(9) OPERATION.—This section is cumulative to other existing remedies and may not be construed to limit other remedies that are available under the laws of this state.
History.—s. 21, ch. 67-254; s. 348, ch. 95-147; s. 1, ch. 2018-94.
66.031 Verdict and judgment.—
(1) VERDICT.—A verdict for plaintiff shall state the quantity of the estate of plaintiff, and describe the land by metes and bounds, lot number or other certain description.
(2) JUDGMENT.—The judgment awarding possession shall state the quantity of the estate and give a description of the land recovered in like manner.