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Did you allow another person to live on your property without a written or oral lease who does not pay rent but now you need to remove that person from the property?


Did you acquire title to a property purchased at a foreclosure auction but need to remove the occupants still residing in the property?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may need an Ejectment Action.


An Overview of Ejectment Actions


All owners should execute a written lease or have an oral contract to lease entered into by the property owner and the person who is residing in the property to effectuate that agreement.  However, there are times when a property owner allows another person to live on the property without a written or oral lease and does not charge rent but now needs to remove a person from the property. 


There are also times when an owner acquires title to a property by purchasing it at a foreclosure auction but then finds out that the prior occupants are still residing in the property.  Notwithstanding a lease agreement and no payment of rent, the new owner still has rights to remove the occupants.


Important Caveats


It is important to know that if a person occupying your property is subject to a lease, paid rent, made mortgage payments, contributed to the upkeep of the property, or paid utilities in exchange for the use of the property, the proper remedy for removal of that person is through an eviction, not an ejectment action.


It is also significant to note that if a person occupying your property is not subject to a lease, has not contributed toward rent, mortgage, or utility payments, and have no legal claim or rights to the property, the proper remedy for removal of that person is through an unlawful detainer action, not an ejectment action.


An ejectment action, while similar to an unlawful detainer action, differs in that the occupant claims to have some right, interest, or title to the property.  However, as long as the owner is not a landlord, there is no lease (written or oral), and the owner has not received rent payments, then the owner may initiate an ejectment action according to Chapter 66, of the Florida Statutes.


The Ejectment Action Process


Initiating an ejectment action requires an owner file a Complaint in Ejectment at the appropriate County Courthouse where the property is located. A process server serves the Complaint upon the party (the Defendant) who refuses to leave the property.  The Defendant then has twenty (20) days to file an Answer to the Complaint.  If the Defendant fails to file an answer to the Complaint, then the property owner may request the Court to enter a Default against the Defendant. 


If the Court enters a Default, then it may also enter a Final Judgment.  The Final Judgment instructs the Defendant to leave the premises.  Unfortunately, the Defendant may not abide by the Final Judgment, and a Writ of Possession may need to be issued to the Sheriff, so the owner receives assistance in removing the Defendant from the property.  If the Defendant does file an Answer to the Complaint, a hearing may be scheduled to address the owner’s Complaint.


Evidently, this process may be too detailed and stressful for a property owner to handle alone. If you need assistance navigating the Ejectment Action process, please contact Real Estate Attorney Kimberly M. Soto at 321.972.2279 to discuss your real estate needs and to assist you in your representation. The Soto Law Office, P.A. is conveniently located in Altamonte Springs, Florida near I-4, and proudly serves the residents of Altamonte Springs, Apopka, Casselberry, Longwood, Ocoee, Orlando, Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia Counties.

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