Unlawful Detainer

Unlawful Detainer Lawyers – Evicting Squatters

Unlawful detainer actions are governed by Chapter 82 of the Florida Statutes. Unlawful detainer actions differ from evictions in that unlawful detainers are filed in situations where there is no landlord tenant relationship between the owner of the real property and its occupant(s). That is, there is no exchange of money, goods or services between the landlord and the unwanted occupant.

Unlawful detainers fall under the jurisdiction of the county court where the real property is located. Unlawful detainer actions are normally filed in situations where an unwanted occupant remains in possession of the property without a lease, right, interest or title to the property.

An unlawful detainer action determines the sole question of which of the interested parties has the superior right of possession of the real property. Unlawful detainers are not filed against co-tenants, co-owners, or parties with a leasehold interest in the property.

evictin squatters unlawful detainerAdditionally, squatter removal actions, like evictions are afforded summary procedure, which means that given the time-sensitive nature of such lawsuits, they are advanced on the court’s calendar for consideration. As mentioned, unlawful detainer actions are proper where the goal is to evict a squatter, not to evict a tenant. If there is a landlord tenant relationship between the unwanted occupant and the owner of the property (landlord), then an unlawful detainer and entry lawsuit is never the correct lawsuit. Instead, the property owner must file a regular eviction.

Unlawful detainer and entry lawsuits are normally filed against the following class of persons:

  • ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends or ex-spouses that refuse to vacate the property
  • children who attain the age of majority but no longer have their parents’ or property owners’ consent to reside at the property
  • squatters who have no relationship to the owner of the property and illegally take possession of the property
  • house guests who overstay their welcome.

In each of these example situations, there must be no landlord tenant relationship between the owner of the property and the unwanted occupant. Co-tenants or Co-owners cannot be removed from possession of the property by way of unlawful detainer.

Chapter 82.02 states unequivocally states that unlawful entry or detainers do not apply with regard to residential tenancies. Chapter 82.04 goes on to state that if any person enters into possession of real property lawfully but continues to holdover unlawful and against the consent of the party entitled to possession (the property owner), then the property owner may bring a lawsuit for possession of the property. Chapter 82.05 reiterates that unlawful detainer suits do not involve any questions of title or ownership, but rather, solely address the question of the right of possession of the real property.

If there are unwanted occupants on your property without a valid interest entitling such an occupant to possession of your home, call and speak with an unlawful detainer lawyer today. Our unlawful detainer attorneys have successfully resolves thousands of these types of possessory actions.