An Unlawful Detainer is an action filed by a Homeowner in Florida that attempts to remove an individual from their property that does not have a lease and is not paying rent. This Unlawful Detainer Process is often used by a Homeowner that no longer wants a family member or friend to remain in their property that they had previously allowed. The length of the Unlawful Detainer process as explained below generally takes between four (4) to five (5) weeks.

  1. Filing of the Unlawful Detainer Complaint: Unlike the EvictionProcess in the State of Florida, the individual that files the Unlawful Detainer Complaint is not required to give notice to the person that they are attempting to remove from their property. The individual that files the Unlawful Detainer Complaint is called the Plaintiff. Upon being served with an Unlawful Detainer Complaint, the Defendant (individual that the Homeowner no longer wants in theproperty) has five (5) business days to respond to the Complaint.
  2. Responding to the Unlawful Detainer Complaint:If a Defendant responds to the Unlawful Detainer Complaint, the Court will determine if their argument warrants a further hearing or if a mediation should be held between the parties. This stage takes two (2) weeks to have either the Final Hearing or Mediation.
  3. Not Responding to the Unlawful Detainer Complaint: If the Defendant does not respond to the Unlawful Detainer Complaint within five (5) business days, the Plaintiff can immediately file a Motion for Default with the Clerk. A Final Judgment will be entered shortly thereafter after the Plaintiff files a Motion for Default Final Judgment. This stage can take about seven (7) business days.
  4. Final Judgment of Unlawful Detainer to Writ of Possession: If the Judge determines at the Final hearing that the Defendant does not have a legal right to remain in the property, the Judge will issue a Final Judgment of Unlawful Detainer. Thereafter, the Judge will direct the Clerk of Court to sign the Writ of Possession. A Writ of Possession allows the Sheriff to post a twenty-four (24) hour notice to vacate the property on the door of the property. This stage takes about eight (8) business days.

Prior to filing an Unlawful Detainer Action, it is imperative that a Homeowner make sure that they have not received any recent from the individualresiding in their property that they are trying to remove. If you are a Homeowner and need to remove a family member or friendfrom your property that does not have a lease and does not pay rent, contact the Law Office of Brian P. Kowal, PA at (954) 990-7552.