Unwanted House Guests? A Lawsuit May Not Be the Only Answer

Access denied to businessman in front of an opened door, isolated on white background and reflective white floor.

At Berlin Patten Ebling we deal with occupancy related disputes on a regular basis.  Until recently, all occupancy related disputes had to be resolved through the filing of a lawsuit in civil court.   If you have had to file a lawsuit for eviction, unlawful detainer or ejectment you know how costly it can be.  Inexplicably, this also included disputes with transient occupants.

At this point, you are probably wondering what a transient occupant is.  Well, pursuant to new Florida Statute §82.045, a “transient occupant” is a person whose residency in a dwelling intended for residential use has occurred for (a) a brief length in time, (b) is not pursuant to a lease, and (c) whose occupancy was intended as transient in nature.  In English, this includes girlfriends, boyfriends, relatives, and the like!  Well, effective as of July 1, 2015, Florida has a new legal remedy to remove transient occupants from residential property.

Florida Statute §82.045 provides that any person entitled to possession of a residential dwelling (including tenants) may present a sworn affidavit to a law enforcement officer requesting that the officer remove the transient occupant from the property. The affidavit must set forth the facts which establish that a transient occupant is unlawfully detaining the residential property.

Significantly, any law enforcement officer upon receipt of said sworn affidavit may direct the transient occupant to vacate the property WITHOUT COURT ORDER.   A transient occupant refusing to vacate on the direction of a law enforcement officer is deemed to have committed misdemeanor trespass under Florida law.

As mentioned above, this is a new statute and law enforcement agencies are working on establishing protocols with respect to its enforcement.   As always, we recommend that you contact a skilled real estate attorney should you have any questions regarding occupancy related disputes.

Sincerely,

Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC

Article Authored by Will McComb, Esq. wmccomb@berlinpatten.com

This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.

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