Since evicting someone in Florida can take a lot of effort, many landlords would prefer to work it out rather than take drastic action, but often it's necessary. For example, if a tenant hasn't paid rent or conducted criminal activity at the property, landlords will need to begin the process of evicting them.
How to Evict Someone in Florida
- Provide a Written Notice to Vacate the Home
- File an Eviction Complaint
- Process the Tennant's Response
- Take the Eviction to Court
- Serve the Eviction
1. Provide a Written Notice to Vacate the Home
Written notice must be given to the tenant at least three days before they are required to vacate the home. However, if the tenant pays rent during these three days, then the landlord must accept. However, the landlord does not have to accept if the amount paid is less than the required rent. According to Florida law, an eviction notice must be delivered by mail.
2. File an Eviction Complaint
The next step in the Florida eviction process is for the landlord to file an eviction complaint with the local court. Once the lawsuit is filed with the Clerk of Court, the tenant is given their summons, which is left on their doorstep, and another copy is sent in the mail. This process will always be done by the Sheriff's Office. The expense of filing the summons is the landlord's responsibility.
3. Process the Tennant's Response
At this point in the process, the tenant is allowed to respond or contest the eviction. Tenants will often hire a lawyer if they wish to contest the eviction. The tenant has 5 days to answer the complaint with the Clerk of Court. If the complaint is not answered, the landlord may get a deferred judgment.
4. Take the Eviction to Court
If the tenant contests the eviction, the matter will go to court. Both parties present their cases at a hearing while a judge mediates. If the landlord wins, they will be issued a Judgement for Possession. If the tenant fails to appear in court, the ruling will automatically go to the landlord.
5. Serve the Eviction
If the court decides in favor of the landlord, it will grant a writ of possession, allowing the sheriff's office to carry out the eviction. The tenant will have a final 24-hour notice to vacate the property. The sheriff will post the writ of possession notice on the tenant's door. If the tenant has not left the home within the 24-hour time frame, they can be forcibly removed, even with their property still inside the home.
Florida Eviction Laws & Tenant's Rights
Although Florida landlords can evict tenants relatively quickly, they have to do so via the proper legal avenue and cannot take matters into their own hands. It is illegal for landlords to turn off a tenant's water or power, remove a tenant's property from the home, or perform an illegal lockout.
Landlords who engage in these acts may be subject to legal action. In some cases, landlords may be required to pay back rent to a tenant in exchange for damages. Going through the proper legal channels to settle a rental dispute helps guarantee the best and safest outcome for all involved parties.
How Long Does the Eviction Process Take in Florida?
The Florida eviction process usually takes about 2-3 weeks to be finalized. Evictions can be served for many reasons, including failure to pay rent, violating the terms of the lease or rental agreement, or for criminal activity. However, before an eviction can be served, a landlord must provide proper notice to the tenant in accordance with Florida eviction laws. In most cases, if the tenant violates the lease or rental agreement, they will have between 3 and 7 days to remedy the situation before the eviction process can move forward.
Florida Eviction Notice Types
1. Three Day Notice to Quit or Pay Rent
When a tenant is three days late on their rent, a landlord can give the tenant three days to quit or vacate the home. If the tenant doesn't leave the home or pay their rent by the deadline, then the landlord can file for an eviction.
2. Seven Day Notice to Cure
When the lease or rental agreement is violated, a landlord can give a tenant seven days to correct the mistake. If the lease or rental agreement isn't corrected within this timeline, then the landlord can move forward and file for an eviction.
Generally, this happens when the resulting damages are fixable. This includes unauthorized pets and vehicles, failure to keep the home clean or sanitary, and other offenses which can be remedied within seven days. These types of offenses rarely fall into the criminal category but are often civil.
3. Seven Day Unconditional Quit Notice
When a tenant unconditionally violates the lease agreement, the landlord can issue a seven day vacate notice. Typically, a landlord can only issue an unconditional notice if the tenant intentionally damages the property, creates major disturbances, or repeatedly violates the rental agreement.
However, the process of eviction must follow certain procedures by law.
What Happens After Serving a Notice in Florida?
After a landlord serves notice, the tenant has up to a week to remedy the situation, comply with the lease, or vacate the property. If they do not vacate or remedy the situation, the landlord may officially begin the process of evicting a tenant by taking them to court for breaching the terms of the lease agreement.
Florida Eviction Process Bottom Line
While serving an eviction is never pleasant, it is a reality when owning rental properties. For the protection of all parties involved, strict legal procedures exist. To evict someone in Florida, a landlord must provide written notice, go through the proper legal channels, and possibly consult with an attorney before going to court to ensure the matter is resolved efficiently.