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.
   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 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.