A property owner generally does not need a lawyer to file an eviction lawsuit or to represent them in court. Florida law allows landlord agents, such as a real estate agent or property manager, to file simple eviction lawsuits. These agents are limited to filing the complaint for possession only. If damages are sought or if the tenant contests the case, the landlord must represent himself or hire an attorney. Also, if a hearing or other arguments are required, the landlord must do so themselves or hire an attorney.
A corporation cannot represent itself in court. If the landlord is a corporation, LLC, or some other entity, the landlord will need an attorney to file an eviction lawsuit, other than for possession, on the landlord’s behalf. If a court hearing is required, only an attorney can represent the corporation. Many landlords are unaware of this rule and end up having their lawsuits dismissed and paying their tenants’ attorneys’ fees. The bottom line is that if the lease lists a corporation as the owner, the owner should get an attorney to represent the corporation.
Some tenant attorneys will take cases when they realize that the landlord’s court filings are technically deficient. If the tenant gets a lawyer, the landlord should seriously consider getting a lawyer as well. An experienced attorney with reasonable fees could mean the difference between losing a case and paying the tenant’s attorney’s fees, and getting the tenant evicted in a timely manner. All property owners must weigh the pros and cons of proceeding without a lawyer.