When Is A Person A Tenant?

Situations arise where a landlord – tenant relationship is entered into when either one of the parties or both of the parties do not realize it.  A transient tenancy as defined by Florida law in the Florida Statutes as an occupancy when “it is the intention of the parties that the occupancy will be temporary”.  A Tenant is defined as “any person entitled to occupy a dwelling unit under a rental agreement.” Keep in mind that a rental agreement does not have to be in writing.

When it is the intention of a party to become more than a transient occupant, and there is an agreement (it can be written or oral) between the parties that a party will no longer be a transient occupant, it can create a tenancy.  If you have  friends who come to visit from out of town and they stay with the intention of leaving in 3 days, they would be considered a transient occupant. However, if on the third day, they ask if they can stay a few more days and if it is ok to receive mail at your house because they are waiting for a check, they could now possibly be considered tenants.

The main reason this becomes an issue is that if you call the police to come and remove a person from your home, if they do not believe that the person is a transient occupant, they will more than likley state it is a civil matter and you will have to go through the eviction process to remove that person from your home.  It is important for homeowners (or even people who are renting a property) to consider if they are allowing someone to become a tenant versus a transient occupant.  Not only can you not just have a person removed from your place of residence when you want, if they are considered a tenant, but you must go through the legal system to have the tenant removed which will take time and cost you money.

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