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If you have been living with a family member, a friend, or a boyfriend or girlfriend whom you permitted to reside on your property without paying rent, and want this person to leave, an eviction may not be appropriate. In this situation, an unlawful detainer may be the method by which a home or property owner may be able to remove someone from their property. An unlawful detainer may be appropriate if there is no rental agreement or lease in place. Ultimately, whether you must use an unlawful detainer over an eviction will depend on the relationship you have to the person residing on your property. If you can establish that a person was paying you rent or if you can show a rental agreement, you may be able to use the eviction process in Florida. However, you can only use the evictions process in Florida if you can establish that there is a landlord tenant relationship in place. However, if there is no lease or rental agreement or no evidence that a person has paid rent to you, you may need to use the unlawful detainer action.
Essentially, an unlawful detainer is the process by which a landlord can remove a person from their property when there is no formal landlord tenant relationship in place. So, let’s say you let your brother live with you in your home rent free but now want him to leave. In this case, you might use the unlawful detainer action to remove him from your property. Unlawful detainer may also be used by renters. Let’s say a boyfriend rents an apartment and pays rent and allows his girlfriend to live with him rent-free. If the couple breaks up, the boyfriend can use an unlawful detainer to remove the girlfriend from the property. Essentially, the person who has the title or right to lease the property in this case would have the right to file the unlawful detainer action. If you are in a situation where you have asked a friend, family member, or ex-partner to leave and they won’t leave, an unlawful detainer may be the right option for you. Legal Counsel, P.A. in Orlando, Florida employs an unlawful detainer lawyer who can assist you.
Another situation where an unlawful detainer might be required is when a person forcibly enters a property without the landlord’s permission, or where a landlord discovers that a person was squatting in their property or land. It is important to initiate an unlawful detainer action as soon as you discover forcible entry because failure to do so could mean that a squatter could technically claim squatter’s rights. Legal Counsel, P.A. employs an unlawful detainer lawyer in Orlando, Florida who can assist you if a person has forcibly entered your property or if a person is unlawfully squatting on your land or property. Our attorney may also be able to help you seek damages in this situation. Have questions? We have answers. Contact Legal Counsel, P.A. at 407-982-4321.
When Can an Unlawful Detainer Action Be Taken in Florida?
In order to initiate an unlawful detainer action, several things must be true under Florida law. Namely, a person must want to have a person leave their property or home, a person must have title to the property or be the legal tenant (the person on the rental agreement), and the person residing in the home is not a legal tenant, namely, that there is no agreement that rent will be paid (agreements can be in writing or verbal agreements). If these hold true, you as the tenant or the property owner may be able to initiate an unlawful detainer action in Florida. Essentially, the unlawful detainer action must be submitted to the court along with required documents (like title or lease) to show that the person initiating the action has the right to the property. Afterward, the person being asked to leave must be formally served the documents. Formal service may require that the papers be given to the person by a sheriff or a process server. After this, the individual in the property can either dispute the action (they can show that they hold title or that they are also on the lease), or they can vacate the premises. An unlawful detainer action, when there is no dispute about who has the rights to the property, can be generally as straightforward as eviction, but it can be helpful to have a lawyer review your case. For example, if the person residing in your property can claim a landlord tenant relationship, then you may need to use the eviction process and not the unlawful detainer action. Legal Counsel, P.A. employs an unlawful detainer lawyer in Orlando, Florida who can review your situation and help you choose the best path forward for your situation. Have questions? We have answers. Contact Legal Counsel, P.A. at 407-982-4321.
Seeking Damages During an Unlawful Detainer Action
Another situation where an unlawful detainer action may be required is if a person is squatting illegally in your property. This can happen when a person owns multiple homes and may not be aware for some time that there are people illegally residing in their property. If after asking squatters or people who illegally entered your property to leave, if they refuse to vacate the property, an unlawful detainer action may be appropriate. It may be wise to take legal action as soon as you discover forcible entry because squatters may have rights under Florida law when landlords fail to take legal action.
When a person who files an unlawful detainer action wins, the person taking the action may have the right to seek damages for court fees and other costs from the person illegally residing or entering the property. Legal Counsel, P.A. employs an unlawful detainer lawyer in Orlando, Florida who can assist you with seeking damages if a person has illegally entered your property, is illegally residing on your property, or refuses to leave when you ask them to leave. Protect your rights. Contact Legal Counsel, P.A. today. Have questions? We have answers. Contact Legal Counsel, P.A. at 407-982-4321.