Marty v. Patel, 5 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 259b (Alachua Co. 1998)
Florida law requires that a corporate landlord be represented by a
member of the Florida Bar. While it is true that a property manager is permitted to file a pro se
Complaint for eviction and appear without an attorney in an uncontested eviction action for nonpayment of rent,
once the Tenant files an answer and serves a notice of hearing, the property manager must have written
authorization from the corporate landlord to complete, sign, and file eviction for nonpayment of
M.E. Marty, Plaintiff, v. Harish R. Patel and
Kaksha K. Patel, Defendants. County Court, 8th Judicial Circuit In And For Alachua County, Florida. Civil
Division. Case No. 97-4812-LT, Division V. Order entered on January 14, 1998 by Judge Aymer L. "Buck"
Cite as: Marty v. Patel, 5 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 259b (Alachua Co. 1998).
In this eviction lawsuit, the landlord was the Florida corporation Maple Shade Tree,
Inc. d/b/a The Palms at Brook Valley (the "Corporate Landlord"). The tenants were Harish Patel and Kaksha
Patel (collectively, the "Tenants"). However, rather than the Corporate Landlord hiring a Florida eviction attorney to represent it in the eviction
action, the property manager, M.E. Marty (the "Property Manager") filed and signed the Complaint.
A corporation must be represented by an attorney when it appears in the Courts of the State of
Florida and, as a result, the Complaint must be dismissed. Quinn v. Housing Authority of Orlando,
385 So. 2d 1167 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980); Szteubaum v. Iversiones y Valores, 476 So. 2d 247 (1985).
The law in Florida mandates that a corporate landlord file the eviction Complaint signed by a
member of the Florida Bar. A property manager for that corporate landlord is permitted to file a pro
se Complaint and may appear pro se when the residential landlord-tenant action for nonpayment of rent
remains uncontested. However, once the Tenant files an answer and a Notice of Hearing is served, the property
manager cannot continue such representation and the corporate landlord must retain a Florida eviction lawyer.
The Florida Bar RE: Advisory Opinion -- Nonlawyer preparation of and Representation of Landlord in
Uncontested Residential Evictions, 605 So. 2d 868 (Fla. 1992).
Additionally, when the eviction matter is uncontested, the property manager must have a written
authorization from the corporate owner that authorizes him or her to complete, sign, and file the eviction for
nonpayment of rent. The Florida Bar RE: Advisory Opinion -- Nonlawyer Preparation and Presentation
Re: Uncontested Evictions, 627 So. 2d 485 (Fla. 1993).
As a result of the foregoing, the eviction action was dismissed without prejudice.