As a legal expert, I'm here to discuss the eviction process in Florida under Fla. Stat. § 83.40 et seq. for landlords and property managers. Being well-versed with the law and the required steps can ensure an efficient and accurate eviction, saving you time and resources.
There are certain lawful reasons for landlords to evict tenants, and it's crucial to be aware of the appropriate circumstances and procedures.
3 Common Reasons for Eviction in Florida
- Non-payment of rent
- Violation of lease terms (e.g., unauthorized pets)
- Failure to maintain the unit as per Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 83.52)
However, it's important to avoid resorting to prohibited self-help methods, such as locking the tenant out or interfering with their utilities. Doing so may lead to lawsuits and potential damages that could affect your business.
The legal eviction process in Florida consists of five main steps to ensure a smooth and lawful procedure.
Step #1: Provide Proper Notice
Tenants must receive proper notice before an eviction begins. There are three types of notices in Florida:
- 3-day notice for non-payment of rent
- 7-day notice with a chance to 'cure' for curable lease violations
- 7-day 'unconditional quit' notice for uncorrectable lease violations
For tenants without a lease or holdover tenants, proper notice as outlined in Fla. Stat. § 83.57 is required (e.g., 15 days for month-to-month tenants).
Deliver notices personally, through certified mail, or by leaving a copy at the tenant's residence, following Fla. Stat. § 83.56 (4).
Step #2: File an Eviction Lawsuit at Your County Court
After the required notice period (3 or 7 days), leverage Fla. Stat. § 83.59 by filing a lawsuit for eviction at the county courthouse that has jurisdiction over the property. Prepare the necessary documents, including a Complaint for Eviction, Summons, Non-military Affidavit, and addressed envelopes for each defendant. You will also need to pay the required filing and summons fees.
Issue a legally correct notice to comply using the appropriate templates or services for added peace of mind.
Step #3: Serve the Tenant with the Complaint and Summons
To establish personal jurisdiction over the tenant, the court clerk will send them the eviction summons and complaint. Additionally, a process server or the county sheriff will deliver the documents to the tenant in person. You'll need to pay the corresponding fees for this service.
Step #4: Attend Court Hearing, Obtain Judgment, and Receive Writ of Possession
The tenant has five days to respond to the complaint. If they do so, a court hearing will be scheduled. Come prepared with all necessary evidence and witnesses to support your claim. If you're successful, the judge will issue a judgment and provide you with a Writ of Possession.
Alternatively, if the tenant doesn't respond after five days, file a default judgment motion and attend the hearing to get your judgment and Writ of Possession.
Step #5: County Sheriff to Serve and Execute the Writ of Possession
The county sheriff must legally serve and execute the Writ of Possession. Pay the appropriate fees, and ensure your full name and contact information, or your authorized agent's information, is on the writ. The sheriff will handle service, eject the tenant if necessary, and oversee the removal of the tenant's possessions from the property.
The Value of an Eviction Attorney
Evictions can be emotionally and physically taxing. With the guidance of an experienced eviction attorney, you can streamline the often confusing process, saving time and gaining peace of mind.
When a dispute arises with a tenant, maintaining thorough records can make or break your eviction request. Keep well-organized physical and digital records, employ property management software, and have all necessary documents and evidence at hand to prove your case.
Remember to closely follow Florida's landlord-tenant laws during the eviction process.
Florida Eviction Laws
- Rent Grace Period: The grace period is specified in the lease agreement.
- Non-Payment of Rent: The tenant has 3 days to pay the rent as per § 83.56(3).
- Non-Compliance: The tenant has 7 days to comply with the terms of the lease as per § 83.56(2)(a) & § 83.56(2)(b).
- Termination (Month-to-Month Lease): The landlord must provide a notice of termination at least 15 days prior to the end of the month as per § 83.57(3).
- Eviction Lawsuit: The lawsuit for eviction is governed by the laws related to Forcible Entry & Unlawful Detainer, as per Chapter 82.