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Unlawful Detainer? What You Should Know When Guests Overstay Their Welcome

unlawful detainer

Do you need an unlawful detainer?

We’ve all known someone who at some point was down on their luck. Perhaps you even let a family member or friend stay with you for a few weeks until they could get their feet back underneath them. Unfortunately, sometimes guests can overstay their welcome, which can put family and friends in an awkward situation. But when you’ve extended your generosity to someone and they repay you by taking advantage of you, then you have to do what is best for you and your family.

First, you ask them to move out. Then, they refuse.

What can you do?

The above example is one of many situations that require what is called an unlawful detainer. Essentially, this action allows law enforcement to remove legally someone who is occupying property without a lease agreement, either oral or written.

Are you facing a similar situation? Then, here’s what you should know:

Unlawful Detainer Is Not the Same as the Eviction Process

Found in chapter 82 of the Florida Statutes, an unlawful detainer action gives property owners a legal course of action to remove any unwanted occupants from their property. Such occupants may have gained access to the property with or without the owner’s permission. However, these cases usually deal with family, friends, and acquaintances. The important distinction that separates an unlawful detainer from an eviction is that no lease agreement was ever made between the property owner and the occupant.

What Action an Unlawful Detainer Does Not Require

Because an unlawful detainer is not an eviction, you are not required to give notice to the occupant. Once you file the action, the person occupying your property has five days to file a response with the court. If he or she fails to reply in the allotted time, then the judge can rule a default judgment.

What Action an Unlawful Detainer Requires

First things first. To file an unlawful detainer, you need to submit the proper paperwork to the county court. After the court orders the occupant to vacate the property, he or she might fail to file a response. When this happens, you can get a default judgment by filing a motion with the Clerk of Court. In cases where the occupant files a response to the unlawful detainer action, or in which no motion for a default judgment is filed properly, things can get complicated. Ultimately, this is the best way to navigate unforeseen circumstances. Hire from the very beginning legal representation experienced in real estate law.

Is your property being occupied without your permission? Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of anymore. Call our offices to set up a consultation. After reviewing your case, we will help guide you through the unlawful detainer process so that you can get back to living in your home in peace. Call us today! 305-760-4425