Florida Senate - 2015 CS for SB 656 By the Committee on Judiciary; and Senator Latvala 590-02147-15 2015656c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to unlawful detention by a transient 3 occupant; creating s. 82.045, F.S.; defining the term 4 “transient occupant”; providing factors that establish 5 a transient occupancy; providing for removal of a 6 transient occupant by a law enforcement officer; 7 providing a cause of action for wrongful removal; 8 limiting actions for wrongful removal; providing a 9 civil action for removal of a transient occupant; 10 providing an effective date. 11 12 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 13 14 Section 1. Section 82.045, Florida Statutes, is created to 15 read: 16 82.045 Remedy for unlawful detention by a transient 17 occupant of residential property.— 18 (1) As used in this section, the term “transient occupant” 19 means a person whose residency in a dwelling intended for 20 residential use has occurred for a brief length of time, is not 21 pursuant to a written lease, and whose occupancy was intended as 22 transient in nature. 23 (a) Factors that establish that a person is a transient 24 occupant include, but are not limited to: 25 1. The person does not have ownership or financial interest 26 in the property entitling him or her to occupancy of the 27 property. 28 2. The person does not have any property utility 29 subscriptions. 30 3. The person does not use the property address as an 31 address of record with any governmental agency, including, but 32 not limited to, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor 33 Vehicles or the supervisor of elections. 34 4. The person does not receive mail at the property. 35 5. The person pays minimal or no rent for his or her stay 36 at the property. 37 6. The person does not have a designated space of his or 38 her own, such as a room, at the property. 39 7. The person has minimal, if any, personal belongings at 40 the property. 41 8. The person has an apparent permanent residence 42 elsewhere. 43 (b) Minor contributions made for the purchase of household 44 goods, or minor contributions towards other household expenses, 45 do not establish residency. 46 (2) A transient occupant unlawfully detains a residential 47 property if the transient occupant remains in occupancy of the 48 residential property after the party entitled to possession of 49 the property has directed the transient occupant to leave. 50 (3) Any law enforcement officer may, upon receipt of a 51 sworn affidavit of the party entitled to possession that a 52 person who is a transient occupant is unlawfully detaining 53 residential property, direct a transient occupant to surrender 54 possession of residential property. A person who fails to comply 55 with the direction of the law enforcement officer to surrender 56 possession or occupancy violates s. 810.08. In any prosecution 57 of a violation of s. 810.08 related to this section, whether the 58 defendant was properly classified as a transient occupant is not 59 an element of the offense, the state is not required to prove 60 that the defendant was in fact a transient occupant, and the 61 status as a permanent resident is not an affirmative defense. A 62 person wrongfully removed pursuant to this subsection has a 63 cause of action for wrongful removal against the person who 64 requested the removal, and may recover injunctive relief and 65 compensatory damages. However, a wrongfully removed person does 66 not have a cause of action against the law enforcement officer 67 or the agency employing the law enforcement officer absent a 68 showing of bad faith by the law enforcement officer. 69 (4) A party entitled to possession of a dwelling has a 70 cause of action for unlawful detainer and removal of a transient 71 occupant. The party entitled to possession is entitled to the 72 summary procedure of s. 51.011 to remove a transient occupant. 73 The party entitled to possession is not required to notify the 74 transient occupant before filing the action. If the court finds 75 that the defendant is a transient occupant the court shall order 76 the clerk to issue a writ of possession placing the plaintiff in 77 possession of the premises, and may award compensatory damages. 78 If the court finds the defendant is not a transient occupant but 79 is instead a tenant of residential property entitled to the 80 protections of part II of chapter 83, the court may not dismiss 81 the action without first allowing the plaintiff to give notice 82 required by that part and to thereafter amend the complaint to 83 pursue eviction under that part. County courts have jurisdiction 84 over actions authorized under this subsection. The filing fee 85 for an action under this subsection is the fee established in s. 86 34.041(1)(a)7. for removal of a tenant. 87 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.