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ScottyMacESQ
ScottyMacESQ, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 11262
Experience:  Licensed General Practice Attorney, Texas
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Florida squatters, how does land owner get rid of them since

Resolved Question:

Florida squatters, how does land owner get rid of them since they stole my deed.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 2 years ago.

ScottyMacESQ :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacESQ :

Was he ever on your property legally (i.e. as a guest, tenant, etc...)?

ScottyMacESQ :

And was a deed filed with the deed records in your county?

Customer:

He followed us in his motorhome,that was to be his home, told him he would be allowed to park there only for a couple of weeks. He told us he was going to buy his own place with the money he had frome the sale of his house in Odessa, Tx. We had to go back to our business in Tx.. He never even looked for a place. Began breaking into ours and stealing our utilities and private things.. Police says too bad, we should have done something sooner.

ScottyMacESQ :

Just to be clear, you do have a deed filed in the county land records where the property is located?

Customer:

A deed was filed in Taylor County , Fla. July of 04. Theresa XXXXX XXXXX.XXXXX We did the sale with a realtor. He has paid no bills or taxes, has nothing in his name except his vehicle and the one he forged my husbands name to our truck and stole it. Law says I didn't say anything soon enough..When he broke into my house each time stealing my things, he also stole my papers and bill of sale on my property. The deed in recorded in courthouse. He tried to steal it also but the lady there asked for my ID and they left.. We were not so lucky withe the truck he stole and the boat..

Customer:

According to the tax records that I got off the internet, it shows me as owner but they are claiming that he has no place to go because he built him a shack on my property..

ScottyMacESQ :

That's his problem. Ownership is not passed by way of having a physical document, and that the possessor of that document owns the property. That was the way it was 150 years ago, but now there are deed records, and 99% of those are imaged (meaning scanned, so even if he were to take off with a copy from the deed records office, that would mean nothing as to ownership of the property). If he does not have a lease, but was a guest for at least one night, he still has to be evicted. If he never was a guest, you could have him removed as a trespasser. But since he was a guest, you would have to go through the eviction process.

ScottyMacESQ :

Now you have no obligation to provide him with a place to stay. Even if he were to be homeless, that's not your problem but his.

ScottyMacESQ :

So you can get a copy of the deed from the deed records (note, it's a copy, even certified, and not the original). There's no way that either you or he could erase any trace of the deed in the deed records.

ScottyMacESQ :

And with that, or some other documentation, you could prove your ownership of the property, plus his unauthorized presence on the property.

ScottyMacESQ :

If he can't show any right to be on the property (by way of a lease, license, or deed) then the court will have to evict him.

ScottyMacESQ :

It's not that you have to prove that he can't stay, he has to prove that he has the right to stay.

ScottyMacESQ :

Now when did you revoke your consent for him to stay on your land?

Customer:

I flew to Perry, Fla. Sunday am and back last nite.. I tried to get the sheriff to do something because I found outstanding warrants on him from Tx. That is the reason he left.. I believe that they should have foound that info when he changed his drivers license, The deputies are playing the blame the victim game with me, This man did sabotage my heating unit by gluing and completely filling the filter in the unit with something to try to get it to catch on fire while we slept.. I caught it and did not think of what was actually going on until he had hurriedly removed the unit. I have witnessed this and other destuctions and the Sheriff told me too bad I didn't tell them soon enough and they don't care what he did before he came to florida..

ScottyMacESQ :

That's a shame, but it's completely within the discretion of the sheriff to make that determination. And since the person was allowed to be a guest at least one night, they can't do anything to remove him forcibly without a court order.

ScottyMacESQ :

99% of the time in these situations, they'll tell you that there's nothing that they can do, because it's a civil matter. And it is a civil matter, even though they would have jurisdiction to charge him for damage to property. Again, 99% of the time they don't. It's not a "good ol boys" network or something limited to Florida. It happens everywhere, and is more a function of an already overworked sheriff's department not wanting to take on additional cases when they don't have to.

Customer:

II believe they have some responsibilities also.. They failed to catch him with the Drivers lic. and they have refused to recognize the Flight to avoid prosecution. Therefore I believe they are harboring a fugitive, and now protecting him from a legal owner. The eviction in fla says 5 days after the service he gets to respond and tell the judge why he should get to keep the placce.

ScottyMacESQ :

"They", being the sheriff's office? I thought that you said that he was on your land, not under the protection of the sheriff?

Customer:

I am refering to the cry for help from me at the sheriff's office, I apparently mis led you. He is definitely on my property with about 12 illegal and viscious dogs and will not leave because he thinks I may come and he wants to be sure he is there..

ScottyMacESQ :

Arguably they have moral or ethical responsibility in this matter, but legally they have what's known as "discretion" with what cases and warrants to hunt down and what they don't. I agree that a competent sheriff's office would assist you, but there's no responsibility for them to do it. I know that sounds ridiculous, but the US Supreme Court held in the Castle Rock case that if the local jurisdiction has discretion (that is, the law says anything other than that they "must" investigate) then they have no legal responsibility to investigate, even though someone might get harmed physically, economically, etc... I am in no way condoning their actions or supporting them, but that's just the law. You're not going to have any successful case against the sheriff's office for their failure to protect you.

ScottyMacESQ :

But you CAN evict him from your property, as well as ask for damages relating to his unauthorized stay on your property. This will be at the hearing that you have for the eviction.

Customer:

This is the way all of the sheriff's office works now.. Blame the victim and get them to back down and therefore the sheriff can say while campaigning."Our crime has dropped so low" THey make sure you don't go any further with the complaint' I have had numerous thefts of very expensive equipment, and knew where to tell them to go, and was told that the people said I gave it to them and the officer told me he would file charges on ;me for making a false report.. There is no wonder that more criminals are all over the place going and doing all they care to..

ScottyMacESQ :

I understand. Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please select the "accept" button. If you have already clicked "accept", or if you will in the future, please let me know so I can track these for my own reports and customer satisfaction stats. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

Customer:

Do you think if I can get a certified copy at the court house of the deed, that will be enough or should I hire an attorney?

ScottyMacESQ :

You mean of the deed?

ScottyMacESQ :

Yes, that should be enough.

Customer:

Yes

ScottyMacESQ :

An attorney is not needed to evict someone who won't leave. Since this is handled at the JP court, it's less formal than regular court, and that's why you don't need a lawyer. Just make sure that you go through all the steps that you have to in order to evict someone.

Customer:

I went to the clerk of court, she is the best person there. She told me what to do and she said to call her in a week or two.. Thank you so much for chatting with me. It made me feel better.. THose people had me convinced that The judge would give him my property.. under the fla squatters rights laws..

ScottyMacESQ :

Unless he was living there for 7 years without your consent, he wouldn't have any rights to the land. That's how long it takes for squatter's rights to mature in Florida. And it would have to be without your consent. If you could show that you only revoked your consent last year, regardless of how long he lived there, he would still be 6 years too short.

ScottyMacESQ :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please select the "accept" button. If you have already clicked "accept", or if you will in the future, please let me know so I can track these for my own reports and customer satisfaction stats. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

Customer:

One more thing, the consent.. He stayed there using my electric, utilities that I paid for, would probably be enough to prove that was consent, would you think? I paid the taxes also.. I was told the statue was 5 years now on the limitations.

ScottyMacESQ :

If he doesn't have "color of title" (meaning a filed document that says that he is the land owner), he would have to show that he has paid the taxes on the land. If you've paid that, then he can't establish "adverse possession" (squatters rights)

Customer:

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX clking accept.

ScottyMacESQ :

You can read more about adverse possession here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe678, but I don't think that it will be an issue in your case.

ScottyMacESQ :

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

ScottyMacESQ, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 11262
Experience: Licensed General Practice Attorney, Texas
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