What’s the difference between eviction and ejectment in Florida?

by John Morey | Jun 03, 2015

Many times we get calls from a property owner or landlord who has filed an eviction against the occupant of a property when they should have filed for ejectment or unlawful detainer. The purpose of this article is to differentiate a lawsuit for eviction versus a lawsuit for ejectment. All too often a landlord or property owner can find themselves in a tricky situation when they file the wrong type of lawsuit in order to try to remove the occupant of a property.

In order to file for an eviction in Florida the relationship between the property owner/landlord and the tenant/occupant needs to meet certain criteria. Simply put, in order to file for an eviction there must be a landlord-tenant relationship between the parties involved. In most situations a landlord-tenant relationship can be established one of two ways. If the parties have a signed lease between them, then a landlord tenant relationship exists whether or not the tenant has ever actually paid rent. Second, if there is not a written lease between the parties a landlord-tenant relationship can be established if the tenant paid rent in one form or another. The payment of rent can be established by proving that money was exchanged between the parties, or in certain situations can involve the exchange of goods or services. Unless the property owner or landlord can prove a landlord-tenant relationship, they should not be filing for eviction.

When the property owner or property manager is not able to establish a landlord-tenant relationship they are usually left with two options; they can file for unlawful detainer or ejectment. For purposes of this article, we will only discuss the latter. In order to file for ejectment there must not be any likeness to a landlord-tenant relationship. Additionally, ejectments typically involve situations where there may be some underlying dispute related to the occupants position that they have some sort of entitlement to possession of the property. For instance, ejectment is sometimes appropriate where a new homeowner buys a property at a foreclosure auction, and the occupants of the property are the former owners. This type of action is appropriate where someone, for one reason or another, claims a legal right to possession of the property, but that possession does not stem from a landlord-tenant relationship.

If you need help deciding whether you need to file for eviction, ejectment, or unlawful detainer call one of our experienced eviction and landlord-tenant attorneys today for a free consultation. Our lawyers have filed ejectment lawsuits throughout Florida and are centrally located in Orlando, Florida. Please submit a free case review through our website or contact our office at (407)426-7222(407)426-7222 to discuss the specifics of your case with one of our attorneys.