Unlawful Detainer – No lease, No rent payments, How Do I Get Them Out of My House?


In this day in age, many people are being forced to allow family members to live with them for what is supposed to be a temporary stay until they get on their feet again.  They allow them to reside in their home without a lease out of the goodness of their hearts and then the good Samaritan gets taken advantage of by the temporary resident.  What was meant to be a temporary stay turns into a longer period of time and when the Good Samaritan property owner asks the person to leave the home they refuse to do so.  What can a person do under those circumstances when there is no lease in place?  Eviction is not an option if there is not a lease.  When there is no lease in place and the person refuses to leave you will have to file an Unlawful Detainer action or Ejection using Florida Statute.  Your Jacksonville family law attorney can assist you with this type of case.

Unlawful Detainer cases are entitled to what is called summary procedure under Florida Statute §51.011.  Under Summary procedure the defendant must file an answer with five (5) days after service of process.  Normally, most complaints the defendant has 20 days to file an answer or respond.  Under Florida’s unlawful detainer statute §82.03(4) the Court shall advance the cause on the calendar.  This means that the Court is required to move it up on the docket and deal with it immediately.  If the Defendant fails to answer after 5 days from being served, the Plaintiff (Homeowner) can file a Motion for Default Judgment.  If the defendant answers the complaint the Court must conduct a hearing immediately to determine the legitimacy of the defendant remaining on the property.   If the Court enters a default, the Plaintiff then receives a Final Judgment and requests the Judge enter a Writ of Possession.  The sheriff then serves the Writ of Possession on the defendant and requires them to leave the premises.  If the Court holds a hearing and finds that the defendant has no legitimate right to remain at the property, it will enter a Final Judgment of Possession on behalf of the Plaintiff.  At that point, the Plaintiff submits a Writ of Possession to the Court which is entered and served on the Defendant by the Sheriff and if necessary, the Sheriff will remove the defendant from the premises and charge them with Trespass.

Since the pandemic hit, foreclosures and evictions have been stalled due to the Governor enacting a stay on foreclosure and eviction procedures based on the recommendation of the CDC.  Unlawful detainers are not affected by the Order of the Governor stalling foreclosures and evictions.  If you have family or friends that you have been gracious enough to allow them to stay in your home and they are refusing to leave and they do not have a lease or rental agreement with you, consider filing an Unlawful Detainer action.  Your Jacksonville Family law attorney can assist you in taking back your property legally.


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