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How to Evict a Family Member in Florida

These situations usually start out well enough. A couple of people or several family members decide to become roommates to share expenses. Or a family member asked to move in because he or she needed a place to stay. Things were fine for awhile, but after time, they started to go downhill and now it's time for the cousin, son, daughter or other family member to go. Except he or she won't leave. So now what? How is a family member evicted in Florida?


Evicting a Florida Family Member is Tricky

As living expenses rise, more family members are living together as a way to save money. As a result, more people are discovering that living with a family member is not all it's cracked up to be. Some family members want to party all night.


Others think house rules apply to everyone but them. As obnoxious as a family member might be, though, getting rid of him or her depends on a number of factors.

Is the Family Member on the Lease?

If the family member is on the lease, then the only person with the authority to evict the family member is the landlord, but even a landlord needs a legally valid reason to throw someone out if that person is on the lease. These reasons usually include not paying rent, using the home for illegal purposes or otherwise breaking the terms of the lease in some way.

The exception to this is if the uncle, son, cousin or other family member is threatening or is violent toward toward people in the rental unit. If this is the case, then the court can issue a restraining order and the family member must leave immediately.

It's worth remembering that a relative on the lease is actually a co-tenant and has much right to live in the rental space as everyone else in the home.

Now What?

Unfortunately for residents of Florida, options are limited if a family member is on the lease. Nicely asking him or her to leave is an option, but this doesn't always work and can lead to more conflict.

If the family member signed an agreement outlining rules of the house, everything from noise limits to cleaning duties and he or she breaks the agreement, then he or she probably cannot be evicted but can be sued for damages in small claims court.

Examples might include a family member having loud parties that keep others in the home from getting work done or the family member not paying his or her share of the utilities.

While these situations could be grounds for suing, the risk is that suing may anger a family member but not enough to make him or her move out.

Talking to the landlord to see if he can get a son, brother, aunt or other family member to budge is an option, but most landlords are content to leave things be as long as they are getting their rent and their property is not being damaged.

An exception would be if the landlord sees that the family member is breaking the lease in some way, such as selling drugs from the home (illegal use of the property) or has a dog when pets are specifically forbidden in the lease.


This is tricky, though, because a family member could claim that the dog belongs to everyone in the home and the landlord could decide to evict the family member and everyone else. In Florida, this is particularly true if a lease has a joint and/or several liability clause, which essentially means that all the tenants on a lease can be held responsible for what other tenants do.

The landlord might be a reasonable person (or corporation), though, and decide to evict only the family member. If this is the case, it will take time. The landlord must follow the law, which involves giving the relative notice of the eviction and time to remedy the situation.

For example, if the grounds for the eviction are that the son has a dog and pets are forbidden according to the lease, then the landlord has to give the son adequate time to find the dog a new home. If the son does this, then he cannot be evicted. He can stay in the home and chances are he will not be a happy camper.

It is possible, too, that the family member may just ignore the eviction notice and decide to stay in the home. In this case, the landlord will have to go to court to ask a judge to tell the family member to go. If the judge agrees, then the sheriff will come to escort the family member out of the property. If, though, the landlord loses in court, then the family member can stay.

Things That Cannot Be Done with Regard to a Florida Family Member Roommate

No matter how annoying or obnoxious a family member roommate is, there are things that the state of Florida says cannot be legally done to make him or her vacate the home.

For example, he cannot be threatened and the locks cannot be changed so he or she cannot enter the home. His or her personal property cannot be taken. If any of this happens, whoever did it could be looking at criminal charges. No family member, now matter how annoying, is worth that.

Is the Family Member Not on the Lease?

If a daughter, son-in-law, cousin or other relative is not on the lease, then there are more options for getting rid of him or her.

This, too, can be a little dicey, though. If the family member is not on the lease because he or she came to stay without the landlord knowing, then it might be the other people in the house breaking the lease terms and end up facing eviction.


If, though, the family member has the landlord's express or implicit permission - many landlords will let a family member stay in the home without signing the lease, or they will turn a blind eye to an extra tenant - then a family member is considered a subletter with a sublease and can be evicted.

This is because while Florida only lets landlords file eviction lawsuits, it also defines a landlord as someone who is leasing a property. So if the person wanting to evict is on the lease but the family member is not, then the person wanting to kick the family member out is considered a landlord and can file an eviction lawsuit against a family member.


There are rules to follow, though. Florida requires that the relative receive least three days notice to find a new place to live and move out if he or she has not paid rent. He or she receive seven days' notice if he or she has broken some other part of the sublease. If the family member is on a month-to-month agreement, then he or she must receive 15 days' notice to leave the rental unit. Please verify these timeframes with an attorney as they are subject to change as statutes change.

The family member must be handed the notice and receive it via certified mail so that there is proof that he or she got it.

If the family member ignores the eviction notice, then a Summons and a Complaint must be filed with the local county clerk. If the family member does not respond to the Summons and Complaint within five days, then a "clerk’s motion" is needed to have the court evict him. This means going to court.

In court, the parties that want to evict must state their case clearly and present all relevant documentation. They must also be prepared to be stuck with the relative and have to pay his or her legal costs if the annoying family member wins the case.

If the landlord is aware of the family member and is a decent perso or company, then he might help with the eviction. The downside with this that is the landlord - even a tolerant one - might just decide to evict the family member and everyone else and start fresh.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is evicting a family member in Florida is not easy. Evicting anyone anywhere is not easy, even for landlords with solid legal grounds. It is a complicated, contentious and often costly process.

Get Help

Ask a Florida Eviction Law Question, Get an Answer ASAP!

If, though, it is time to evict a family member, then it is a good idea to talk to an experienced Florida eviction lawyer before proceeding. One small misstep could mean that the family member is not the one having to look for a new home.



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