Many nations around the world are concerned about the growth of squatter settlements. This problem is becoming more apparent in the United States.
Florida, being one of the most populated states in the United States, was not spared from this problem.
As a result of the continuing population growth and the unequal distribution of resources, many areas suffer from economic decline.
Informal settlements are rampant and can be found in many areas of this state. These informal settlers occupy both government and private properties that nobody uses.
These areas can be either one of the following:
- Vacant property
- Abandoned buildings or structures
But, what if the property that they are currently occupying has to be made into something else? How do you get them to move out?
HOW TO GET SQUATTERS TO MOVE OUT
Before we proceed with the discussion, let us define what an informal settler or a squatter is.
A squatter is anyone who illegally occupies any land or space.
This means that they just decided to live on that property. They don’t have permission from the owner, which means they don’t pay rent.
Often, they even use electricity and water without paying for it.
The problem, however, is what to do with them. Getting them to move out is not easy, and you cannot, however, simply allow these unauthorized tenants to occupy your property.
This is especially true if your area has local laws like the adverse possession laws.
According to these specific laws, a squatter can have a valid claim to ownership of a property after occupying it for a certain amount of time.
In most cases, the unauthorized tenants must have lived at the property for more than five years, and in Florida, it’s seven years.
After staying for more than seven years, they will have a legal claim over your property.
You cannot let this happen. This is why you should make a move to evict them as soon as possible. This is even if they promise to stay there for only a short period of time.
Keep in mind that time flies fast, and the short time can get extended.
It could last for more than five years, and this is why you have to make them move out.
By doing this, you will be able to retain ownership of your property, and you will also be able to rent your space to better-quality tenants.
Please know that you can not just force them to leave your property.
Squatters do have legal rights and are protected by Florida laws. You should never take the matter into your own hands.
Don’t worry, though, because, in the state of Florida, there is a legal process that can help you.
So now the question is: how do you get an illegal tenant in Florida to move out in a legal way?
Follow the steps below to avoid any criminal offense and make them move out properly.
How to Get Squatters in Florida to Move Out
1. Report the illegal tenant to the police.
In the first place, the illegal tenant has no business staying on your property. In order for you to avoid any legal complaints, let the authorities handle the situation.
2. Hire a real estate attorney.
The next step that you need to take is to hire a real estate attorney.
A real estate attorney can do the following for you:
- He or she can help you understand the rightful and legal eviction process.
- He or she can help you learn and understand the squatter’s rights. The squatters’ rights are stated in Florida’s Adverse Possession Law.
If the squatter lives on the property continuously for seven years, they will have the right to file a valid adverse possession claim.
- He or she can represent you in the Florida courts.
- He or she can explain to you all the things that you need to know about landlord-tenant laws.
- He or she can help you learn the different types of eviction notices. He or she can also help you process this.
- He or she can help you process your legal documents.
- He or she can help you go through the entire legal action.
For a squatter to be given a legal title, he or she must satisfy a number of conditions.
6 Conditions a Squatter Must Satisfy to File for Adverse Possession
Here are the six conditions that a squatter must satisfy for him to be given the right to file for adverse possession:
- They are occupying the property that does not belong to them.
- They are presently and physically occupying the property with care. They should have proof that they are treating the property just like how the actual owner would.
- The general public knows that he or she has been living on the rental property for a long time already.
- No other non-family member or unrelated individual lives on the property. The illegal tenant and his family should be the only ones who are occupying the area.
- The squatters have been living on the property continuously for the past few years.
- The squatter has the “Color Of Title.” The color of title refers to the ownership of property under special circumstances.
These special circumstances include a lack of legal proof of ownership.
Give them a formal eviction notice.
As the owner, you are the property manager of the area. It will be your responsibility to hand out the formal eviction notice to the squatters.
It is also known as “unlawful detainer action”. Serving the formal eviction notice will be the first thing in your eviction lawsuit.
This is why it is important that you know your options. Your real estate attorney can help you with this.
Here are the three types of eviction notices:
a) 3-Day Quit or Pay Notice. This 3-Day notice gives the tenant to pay you for their rent or leave the property.
b) 7-Day Cure Notice. This 7-Day notice is not suitable for squatters and is only given to tenants who have failed to follow the conditions of the lease agreement.
c) 7 Day Unconditional Quit Notice. Out of these three, this is the notice that you will be serving to your illegal tenants. In this notice, you are just giving them seven days to leave your property.
If the squatter refuses to leave the property after the notice has been given to them, then you may proceed to file an eviction lawsuit.
If the illegal tenant has no valid adverse possession claim, then you are most likely to win the legal case.
If you win this civil matter, the court will issue a Writ of Possession. This legal document orders the authorities to give your properties back to you.
In this case, this document will signify that the property should be yours. The informal settlers must leave the area.
Remove the illegal tenant’s possessions.
Once you have received the court’s ruling, you may now have the squatter’s property removed. Please know that you cannot destroy them.
Always remember to never lose your cool when dealing with them. In a legal sense, you can fight against them better when you are calm.
Also, please know that you are against a squatter, not a holdover tenant. They are living on your property with your permission.
You have to get your property back. The best way to do this is by using a legal process.
Can you kick someone out of your house in Florida?
Yes, you can. But you should know that your tenants have rights too. For your safety and to avoid any problems, do it in a legal way.
Is it hard to evict a tenant in Florida?
In general, no. It is not difficult to evict your tenant. If you don’t have any lease agreements, you can make them leave anytime. If you have, as long as you did not violate it, then it will be easy.
However, it’s a different story if you are dealing with a squatter. In some cases, it could be difficult. In others, it is easy.
Finding out that someone is illegally living on your property can be an annoying experience. Even if the property was vacant when they arrived, it is still not right for the squatters to do that.
That being said, the best way to handle the situation is by filing an eviction lawsuit. By doing this, you will be able to assert your ownership of the property in a rightful manner.
Let us know if you have questions by commenting on this article.