When a property owner has someone residing in their property or a property to which they have legal right and title and the individual will not leave voluntarily, the owner is faced with making a decision as to how to remove the person or persons who will not leave voluntarily. An eviction is a remedy if there is a lease or other document which establishes the conditions upon which the person or persons residing in the subject property must abide by. The lease generally requires the periodic payment of rent in exchange for use of the premises. An eviction is not the proper remedy for removal of a person or persons who are NOT subject to a lease and do NOT pay rent, the mortgage or utilities in exchange for use of the property. In the case of a person or persons who are enjoying the use of a property and are not subject to a lease and who do not pay rent or contribute to the upkeep and property related expenses, the process by which to remove such person or persons is a lawsuit known as an Ejectment.
Florida law allows for a legal action know as an Ejectment to remove a non-rent paying person living in your home, who has not signed a lease and has no title or interest in the property. Often times, this involves a person whom you have allowed to live in your home and who later refuses to leave when asked. Most commonly, this involves either a boyfriend or girlfriend, a family member or a friend who has been invited to stay in your home, who has for some reason become an unwelcome guest and refuses to leave when asked.
An ejectment is a lawsuit filed to which the defendant(s) has/have 20 days to file a answer just as in most normal lawsuits. If no answer is filed within the required time period, a motion for default is filed and once entered by the court, a final judgment may be issued ordering the person or persons to leave the home. If they do not leave voluntarily, a writ of possession will be issued to the sheriff and they will come to the property and ask for the person or persons to leave and if they do not leave voluntarily, they will remove them from the property for you. If the person or persons do file an answer, a hearing will be required and if they “lose,” meaning that the court has determined that there are no defenses as to why they should be allowed to remain in the property, the court will issue a final judgment and order requiring the person to leave your home, as above, if they do not leave voluntarily, the sheriff will remove them for you.
Recognizing that in many cases the person or persons who reside in your property and refuse to leave may have at one time been an invited guest, an ejectment proceeding can be very emotional and all consuming. If you have been saddled with having a guest who is no longer wanted, you should contact our office at 954-475-4244 to review your situation and assist in getting your unwanted guest(s) out of your property thereby returning you to the safety and peacefulness of your home.
Chapter 66, Florida Statutes- Ejectment, is the statute by which an unwanted guest or guests may be removed from your property. The 2016 version of FS 66 is shown below in its entirety.
CHAPTER 66- EJECTMENT
66.011 Common law ejectment abolished.
66.031 Verdict and judgment.
66.041 Betterment, petition.
66.051 Betterment, answer.
66.061 Betterment, trial and verdict.
66.071 Betterment, judgment for plaintiff.
66.081 Betterment, judgment for defendant.
66.091 Betterment, payment by plaintiff.
66.101 Betterment, payment by defendant.
66.011 Common law ejectment abolished.—In ejectment it is not necessary to have any fictitious parties. Plaintiff may bring action directly against the party in possession or claiming adversely.
History.—s. 1, ch. 999, 1859; RS 1511; GS 1966; RGS 3234; CGL 5040; s. 21, ch. 67 254.
Note.—Former s. 70.01.
(1) LANDLORD NOT A DEFENDANT.—When it appears before trial that a defendant in ejectment is in possession as a tenant and that his or her landlord is not a party, the landlord shall be made a party before further proceeding unless otherwise ordered by the court.
(2) DEFENSE MAY BE LIMITED.—A defendant in an action of ejectment may limit his or her defense to a part of the property mentioned in the complaint, describing such part with reasonable certainty.
(3) WRIT OF POSSESSION; EXECUTION TO BE JOINT OR SEVERAL.—When plaintiff recovers in ejectment, he or she may have one writ for possession, damages and costs or, if the plaintiff elects, have separate writs for possession and damages.
(4) CHAIN OF TITLE.—Plaintiff with his or her complaint and defendant with his or her answer shall serve a statement setting forth chronologically the chain of title on which he or she will rely at trial. If any part of the chain of title is recorded, the statement shall set forth the names of the grantors and the grantees and the book and page of the record thereof; if an unrecorded instrument is relied on, a copy shall be attached. The court may require the original to be submitted to the opposite party for inspection. If the party relies on a claim or right without color of title, the statement shall specify how and when the claim originated and the facts on which the claim is based. If defendant and plaintiff claim under a common source, the statement need not deraign title before the common source.
(5) TESTING SUFFICIENCY.—If either party wants to test the legal sufficiency of any instrument or court proceeding in the chain of title of the opposite party, the party shall do so before trial by motion setting up his or her objections with a copy of the instrument or court proceedings attached. The motion shall be disposed of before trial. If either party determines that he or she will be unable to maintain his or her claim by reason of the order, that party may so state in the record and final judgment shall be entered for the opposite party.
History.—s. 21, ch. 67 254; s. 348, ch. 95 147.
66.031 Verdict and judgment.—
(1) VERDICT.—A verdict for plaintiff shall state the quantity of the estate of plaintiff, and describe the land by metes and bounds, lot number or other certain description.
(2) JUDGMENT.—The judgment awarding possession shall state the quantity of the estate and give a description of the land recovered in like manner.
History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 3244, 1881; RS 1515; GS 1970; RGS 3238; CGL 5046; s. 21, ch. 67 254.
Note.—Former s. 70.05.
66.041 Betterment, petition.—If a judgment of eviction is rendered against defendant, within 60 days thereafter, or if he or she has appealed, within 20 days after filing the mandate affirming the judgment, defendant may file in the court in which the judgment was rendered a petition setting forth that:
(1) Defendant had been in possession and that he or she or those under whom defendant validly derived had permanently improved the value of the property in controversy before commencement of the action in which judgment was rendered;
(2) Defendant or those under whom defendant validly derives held the property at the time of such improvement under an apparently good legal or equitable title derived from the English, Spanish, or United States Governments or this state; or under a legal or equitable title plain and connected on the records of a public office or public offices; or under purchase at a regular sale made by an executor, administrator, guardian or other person by order of court; and
(3) When defendant made the improvements or purchased the property improved, he or she believed the title which he or she held or purchased to the land thus improved to be a good and valid title. The petition shall demand that the value of the improvements be assessed and compensation awarded to defendant therefor.
History.—RS 1516; GS 1971; RGS 3239; CGL 5047; s. 2, ch. 29737, 1955; s. 21, ch. 67 254; s. 349, ch. 95 147.
Note.—Former s. 70.06.
66.051 Betterment, answer.—The plaintiff in the judgment of eviction may file written defenses to the petition within 20 days after service of the petition.
History.—RS 1517; GS 1972; RGS 3240; CGL 5048; s. 14, ch. 29737, 1955; s. 21, ch. 67 254.
Note.—Former s. 70.07.
66.061 Betterment, trial and verdict.—If an answer is filed, trial shall be on the issues made. If no answer is filed, trial shall be ex parte, but defendant is required to prove every allegation of the petition. If the jury (or if a jury is waived, the court) finds in favor of defendant, it shall assess:
(1) The value of the land at the time of the assessment, irrespective of the improvements put upon the land by defendant or those under whom he or she derives, and if any, the injury done to the land by defendant or those under whom he or she derives.
(2) The value of the permanent improvements at the time of the assessment.
(3) The injury, if any, done to the land by defendant or those under whom he or she derives.
(4) The value of the use of the land by defendant between the time of the judgment in ejectment and the time of the assessment or if defendant has been evicted from or has surrendered the premises, from the time of the judgment to the time of the surrender or eviction. The findings shall be specified separately on each of these matters.
History.—RS 1518; GS 1973; RGS 3241; CGL 5049; s. 2, ch. 29737, 1955; s. 21, ch. 67 254; s. 350, ch. 95 147.
Note.—Former s. 70.08.
66.071 Betterment, judgment for plaintiff.—On rendition of the verdict the clerk shall ascertain whether the balance of the last three assessments (that is, of the value of the improvements, the extent of the injury and the value of the use of land), is in favor of plaintiff or defendant and ascertain the amount of the balance; if the verdict is in favor of plaintiff, judgment shall be rendered against defendant for costs, whether the balance of the assessments is in favor of plaintiff or defendant; but if the balance of the assessments is in favor of plaintiff, he or she shall have a judgment for costs in addition to the judgment for the balance.
History.—RS 1519; GS 1974; RGS 3242; CGL 5050; s. 21, ch. 67 254; s. 351, ch. 95 147.
Note.—Former s. 70.09.
66.081 Betterment, judgment for defendant.—If the verdict is in favor of defendant and the balance of assessments is also in defendant’s favor, a judgment for costs shall be entered against plaintiff, and a further judgment that unless plaintiff pays or secures as hereinafter provided the amount of the balance of assessments against him or her within 20 days, defendant may pay or secure to plaintiff the value of the land as assessed.
History.—RS 1520; GS 1975; RGS 3243; CGL 5051; s. 21, ch. 67 254; s. 352, ch. 95 147.
Note.—Former s. 70.10.
66.091 Betterment, payment by plaintiff.—The plaintiff may pay the balance in cash or may give defendant a bond with surety to be approved by the clerk, conditioned to pay said balance in two equal annual installments, with interest at 6 percent per annum to defendant. If plaintiff shall pay the sum within 20 days, or if the payment of the bond is received, satisfaction of the judgment shall be entered and all rights conferred on defendant by the judgment terminate.
History.—RS 1521; GS 1976; RGS 3244; CGL 5052; s. 21, ch. 67 254.
Note.—Former s. 70.11.
66.101 Betterment, payment by defendant.—If plaintiff does not pay or secure the sum within 20 days, within 20 days thereafter defendant may pay to plaintiff the value of the land as assessed or give plaintiff a bond with surety, to be approved by the clerk, conditioned to pay plaintiff the value in two equal annual installments, with 6 percent interest; or if plaintiff fails to pay the bond given by him or her when it becomes due, for 20 days after the expiration of the time fixed in the bond for payment, defendant shall again have the privilege of paying to plaintiff in cash the value of the land assessed. On the payment of the sum to plaintiff at any of the times hereinbefore mentioned, title to the land shall vest in defendant and plaintiff or those holding under him or her shall give defendant a deed to the land, tenements, hereditaments, and appurtenances, and if defendant has been evicted from or has surrendered the property, it shall be restored to him or her by order of court on motion.
History.—RS 1522; GS 1977; RGS 3245; CGL 5053; s. 21, ch. 67 254; s. 353, ch. 95 147.
Note.—Former s. 70.12.
If you or a loved one have been struggling with an issue of ejectment, contact Bakalar and Associates, our attorneys in FL, today to discuss your case or schedule a consultation.