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Good morning. Even though he is paying nothing, he is deemed to be a month to month
tenant. Under Florida law, an owner can terminate the tenancy of a month to month tenant by giving written notice of at least 15 days. If the tenant does not leave voluntarily, under Florida law, the owner will then need to give a 3-Day Notice to Quit...meaning the tenant must vacate the premises within that period or face formal eviction
. Then, if the tenant still has not left, the owner must file a petition for an eviction order. Once that is granted...the owner can have the sheriff evict. Unfortunately, what the owner cannot legally do is move the tenant's stuff out, change the locks, or exercise any other means of "self-help" eviction prior to obtaining the eviction order from the court.
With regard to the ability to claim ownership of the property, you would be referring to the concept of adverse possession. Adverse possession is the process of claiming title to real estate
by taking it and occupying it for a period of time. Adverse possession requires the following conditions to be met: i) actual possession of the property; ii) open and notorious use of the property; iii) exclusive use of the property; iv) hostile or adverse use of the property; and v) continuous use of the property. Under Florida law, to claim real estate by adverse possession without color of title, a person must have possession for a period of seven (7) years and pay the assessed taxes pursuant to Florida Code §95.16-.18. Because your family member has lived there with your consent (and thus not adversely) until December 2012 and has not paid the taxes, he would not prevail in any effort to gain title by adverse possession.
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