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Here's everything you need to know about Squatters Rights in Florida if you are home owner or real estate professional

Squatter Rights in Florida: A Guide for Rental Property Owners

Owning a property in the sunshine state is a dream for many Americans. Perhaps a summer home or retirement home in one of the sunniest state in the US can be a life long dream.  However, renting out your property in Florida can quickly turn into a home owner nightmare if there happens to be a squatters in your property. The notion of squatter rights, or "adverse possession" as it's legally termed, often stirs up images of unauthorized occupants claiming ownership of properties they don't legally own. This topic raises several questions: "Are there squatters rights in Florida?" "Is squatting legal in Florida?" and "Do squatters have rights in Florida?" The answers to these questions will be answered in the following article below. Any legal matters it is always best to seek professional legal advice as this is not legal advice but simply a framework for understanding squatters rights.

florida squatters

Understanding Squatter Rights in Florida

Squatter Rights in Florida: Yes, Florida law does recognize squatter rights under specific conditions through adverse possession. It's a legal principle allowing someone to claim ownership of land after occupying it for an uninterrupted period—providing certain conditions are met.

The Legal Framework of Squatting in Florida

The distinction between squatters and tenants is critical, especially when it comes to unauthorized entry or occupancy without explicit permission. Here’s a closer look:

Squatters in Florida

  • Definition: A squatter in Florida is someone who occupies land or buildings without the legal right or permission from the property owner.

  • Adverse Possession: To claim squatter's rights in Florida, an individual must occupy a property openly, continuously, and without the owner's permission for at least 7 years. Additionally, the squatter must pay the real estate taxes during this period to qualify for adverse possession.

  • Florida Squatter Laws: Squatting itself is not a straightforward legal act in Florida, given the conditions necessary for a squatter to claim ownership of the property.

Tenant Rights

  • Definition: Tenants have a formal agreement or lease with a landlord or property owner, granting them the right to occupy the property.

  • Legal Protections: Florida law provides tenants with specific rights, such as the right to a habitable living environment and protection against unlawful eviction, which necessitates a formal eviction process.

Under HB 621, a property owner can request law enforcement to immediately remove a squatter from their property if the following conditions are met:

  • The individual has unlawfully entered and remains on the property;

  • The individual has been directed to leave the property by the owner but has not done so; and

  • The individual is not a current or former tenant in a legal dispute.

Managing Squatter Situations in Florida

Can Police Remove Squatters in Florida?

Law enforcement can get involved if a squatter is committing criminal acts. However, removing squatters often requires a civil court process, particularly if they claim to have a legitimate right to the property.

How to Evict a Squatter in Florida

Evicting a squatter involves several steps:

  1. Determine Occupancy: Ascertain whether the individual is a squatter and not a tenant, which affects your legal strategy.

  2. Notice to Vacate: Ideally, start by serving a notice to vacate to the squatter, although this isn’t always formally required.

  3. Legal Ejection: If the squatter does not leave, property owners may need to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit in court, not a standard eviction process used for tenants.

  4. Court Order: Obtaining a court order for removal is essential for legally enforcing the squatter’s eviction.

  5. Law Enforcement Assistance: With a court order, law enforcement can help remove squatters from the property.

Protecting Your Property from Squatters in FL

To safeguard your property against squatters:

  • Regular Inspections: Conducting regular inspections helps identify unauthorized occupants early on.

  • Secure the Property: Ensure the property is secured with locks, and consider security systems to deter squatting.

  • Engage with Neighbors: Neighbors can be valuable allies in watching over your property and alerting you to suspicious activity.

squatting illegally fl

Squatting Laws and Rights in Summary

"Squatters' rights 30 days Florida" is a myth; the actual process involves a much longer period and specific legal criteria. Understanding squatter rights in Florida, including facets like "squatters rights Miami" or more broadly within the state, is crucial for effectively managing properties and mitigating the risks associated with squatting.

In summary, while Florida law provides a pathway for squatters to claim ownership under strict conditions, it also offers mechanisms for property owners to reclaim their rights and remove unauthorized occupants. Being informed and proactive is key to navigating the challenges presented by squatter situations in Florida.

A new law in Florida is streamlining the process for removing individuals unlawfully occupying private properties.

On Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis enacted HB 621, effectively putting an end to squatters' rights within the state.

"Florida is closing the door on the squatters' scam," declared DeSantis. "Unlike other states that may favor squatters, we're standing by property owners and taking a stand against those attempting to manipulate the system for their gain."

See our other article on knowing your USA Squatter Rights

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