Can a tenant be evicted without the involvement of an attorney? In Florida, the answer is yes. A property manager assigned by the property owner can perform an eviction but only under certain circumstances.
As the number of absentee real estate owners rise and Property Managers are counted on more and more to manage real property, Property Managers will increasingly be faced with situations that may necessitate an eviction. It would be helpful for the parties involved in these situations to know when and how a Property Manager can legally handle an eviction. Fortunately, Florida law is pretty clear on this subject. The Florida Supreme Court grants special capabilities to Property Managers to handle certain evictions, which it does not grant to other non-lawyers.
Who is considered a property manager:
At least for residential evictions, a Property Manager is “responsible for the day-to-day management of the residential rental property, as evidenced by such factors as responsibility for renting of units, maintenance of the rental property, and collection of rent,” according to an advisory opinion.
A Property Manager can handle an eviction only if the Tenant fails to pay rent:
Having established what constitutes a “property manager” is for these purposes, now we must consider what types of evictions a non-lawyer Property Manager can handle. The Supreme Court has made it reasonably clear that the only kind of residential eviction a non-lawyer Property Manager can manage is an eviction for non-payment of rent.
The residential eviction must be uncontested:
It also seems clear that a non-lawyer Property Manager in Florida may handle only uncontested evictions. Notably, eviction is not considered uncontested when any hearing is required. See more about the eviction process here.
A Property Manager must have written authorization from the Landlord to handle evictions:
Along with the previous limits and requirements discussed above, the Supreme Court of Florida has determined that for a Property Manager to handle evictions, the Landlord of the property in question must provide the Property Manager with written authorization.
Forms to use
The forms which a Property Manager can use to provide 3-day Termination-of-Lease notice to a Tenant, file a Complaint for eviction, file a Motion for Clerk’s Default and file a Motion for Default Final Judgment can be found on the Florida Bar Website
What A Property Manager may not do when it comes to eviction:
The Florida Supreme Court, through advisory opinions, has provided a narrow set of circumstances under which a Property Manager may file a residential eviction action in Florida courts. It has also noted certain restrictions on Property Managers in this regard:
- A Property Manager cannot be the plaintiff in an eviction action.
- The Landlord cannot authorize the Property Manager to seek past-due rent or any other money judgment.
- As mentioned, a Property Manager cannot represent the Landlord at a contested eviction hearing or trial.
If you are a Property Manager looking to undertake an eviction proceeding or a Tenant being evicted by a Property Manager, please contact Siegel & Siegel at 561-620-8200. We look forward to helping you.