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.
   12  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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.