Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Bill Would Allow Process Servers to Now Serve Writs of Possession!

HB 291 by Representative Frank Artiles and SB 426 by Senator Jack Latvala amends Chapter 48 of the Florida Statutes to authorize process servers to serve writs of possession in actions for possession of residential property. Currently, only the Sheriff's Office serves these writs so this bill is a significant departure from current practice.

From a practical standpoint, this would give the association the option to use a certified process server as opposed to the Sheriff in serving the writ of possession in eviction actions to remove the occupants from the property. This would come into play either when the association is evicting a tenant in a delinquent property who has refused to tender rent to the association or when the association has taken title to a property via foreclosure or deed in lieu of foreclosure. Presumably, it will be quicker to utilize a certified process server to wrap up eviction actions as opposed to waiting for a civil servant such as the Sheriff to do so.

In the event the tenants or occupants have already already vacated the property, it might be quicker and cheaper to use a Process Server to post the Writ of Possession on the property. Current law provides that the Sheriff's Office may charge $40 for docketing and indexing each writ of execution, regardless of the number of persons involved and $50 for each levy. In addition to these fees, the Sheriff is authorized to charge a reasonable hourly rate and the person requesting the Sheriff to stand by to keep the peace in an action for possession of property is responsible for paying the Sheriff's hourly rate.

Despite these fees, if an association is concerned about the possibility of a confrontation with occupants still in residence, it might be prudent to continue to use the Sheriff's Office to serve such Writ of Possession.

This bill bears an effective date of July 1, 2011 and is expected to pass. The Staff Analysis on CS/SB 426 is as follows:
http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2011/0426

This work by Donna DiMaggio Berger, Esq. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Generic License.

3 comments:

  1. As long as the community can elect to use the sheriff or the process server to serve writs of possession, then this bill may work. Evictions are becoming increasingly volatile and it is very doubtful that process servers will wish to place themselves or employees in potentially unsafe situations concerning evictions.

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  2. Should be a really good thing. It will save everyone time and money. I was in Tallahasse when FAA was really pushing this.

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  3. I agree, Bonita. If there are still occupants in residence, it is best to have the Sheriff on hand to keep the peace.

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