Florida Senate - 2015 CS for CS for SB 656 By the Committees on Regulated Industries; and Judiciary; and Senator Latvala 580-03236-15 2015656c2 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 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 an ownership interest, 26 financial interest, or leasehold interest in the property 27 entitling him or her to occupancy of the 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 toward other household expenses, do 45 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. The sworn affidavit must set 55 forth the facts, including the applicable factors listed in 56 paragraph (1)(a), which establish that a transient occupant is 57 unlawfully detaining residential property. 58 (a) A person who fails to comply with the direction of the 59 law enforcement officer to surrender possession or occupancy 60 violates s. 810.08. In any prosecution of a violation of s. 61 810.08 related to this section, whether the defendant was 62 properly classified as a transient occupant is not an element of 63 the offense, the state is not required to prove that the 64 defendant was in fact a transient occupant, and the defendant’s 65 status as a permanent resident is not an affirmative defense. 66 (b) A person wrongfully removed pursuant to this subsection 67 has a cause of action for wrongful removal against the person 68 who requested the removal, and may recover injunctive relief and 69 compensatory damages. However, a wrongfully removed person does 70 not have a cause of action against the law enforcement officer 71 or the agency employing the law enforcement officer absent a 72 showing of bad faith by the law enforcement officer. 73 (4) A party entitled to possession of a dwelling has a 74 cause of action for unlawful detainer against a transient 75 occupant pursuant to s. 82.04. The party entitled to possession 76 is not required to notify the transient occupant before filing 77 the action. If the court finds that the defendant is not a 78 transient occupant but is instead a tenant of residential 79 property governed by part II of chapter 83, the court may not 80 dismiss the action without first allowing the plaintiff to give 81 the transient occupant notice required by that part and to 82 thereafter amend the complaint to pursue eviction under that 83 part. 84 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.