Florida Eviction Process and Timeline

By PropertyClub Team
May 17th 2024
The eviction process in Florida allows landlords to legally remove tenants who have violated their lease agreements. This article outlines each step a landlord must take to legally evict a tenant, from serving the initial eviction notice to the final removal by the sheriff.

We will also discuss the types of eviction notices, what happens after a notice is served, and the rights of both landlords and tenants throughout the process. Additionally, this guide covers important legal protections for tenants and actions that are prohibited for landlords.

To learn more about specific landlord rights, check out our article that discusses when and how much a landlord can raise rent in Florida.

Table of Contents

How to Evict Someone in Florida
Florida Eviction Process: Laws & Tenant's Rights
How Long Does the Eviction Process Take in Florida?
Florida Eviction Notice Types
Examples of Common Disputes and Resolutions
Florida Eviction Process Bottom Line

hash-markHow to Evict Someone in Florida 

  1. Provide a Written Notice to Vacate the Home
  2. File an Eviction Complaint
  3. Process the Tennant's Response
  4. Take the Eviction to Court 
  5. Serve the Eviction 

1. Provide a Written Notice to Vacate the Home

The first step towards evicting someone in Flordia is to 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 Florida's eviction 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. 

hash-markFlorida Eviction Process: 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. 

hash-markHow Long Does the Eviction Process Take in Florida? 

The Florida eviction process usually takes about 2 to 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. The relatively quick eviction process makes Florida one of the most landlord friendly states

hash-markFlorida Eviction Notice Types

  1. Three Day Notice to Quit or Pay Rent
  2. Seven Day Notice to Cure
  3. Seven Day Unconditional Quit Notice

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. 

hash-markExamples of Common Disputes and Resolutions

In Florida, landlords and tenants often face several common disputes that can lead to eviction if not resolved properly. Understanding these scenarios can help both parties manage their responsibilities and rights more effectively.

  1. Non-payment of Rent: This is the most frequent reason for eviction. When a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord can issue a Three Day Notice to Quit or Pay Rent. If the tenant pays the rent within these three days, the eviction process does not proceed. However, if the tenant does not pay, the landlord can file for eviction.
  2. Damage to Property: Sometimes tenants may cause significant damage to the property that goes beyond normal wear and tear. In such cases, a landlord can issue a Seven Day Notice to Cure, giving the tenant a week to fix the damage or compensate the landlord. If the tenant fails to address the issue, the landlord can begin eviction proceedings.
  3. Unauthorized Occupants or Pets: If a tenant has people living with them who are not included in the lease, or if they have pets in violation of their rental agreement, the landlord can also use a Seven Day Notice to Cure. This notice gives the tenant a week to correct the lease violation by removing unauthorized occupants or pets. Failure to comply can lead to eviction.
  4. Disturbances and Violation of Lease Terms: If a tenant consistently violates the terms of their lease or causes disturbances that bother other tenants or neighbors the landlord may issue a Seven Day Unconditional Quit Notice. For example, a landlord can evict a tenant for making too much noise if they do it consistently and it bothers the neighbors. With a Seven Day Quit Notice, the tenant must leave within seven days without a chance to remedy the violation because of their repeated offenses. 

In each of these situations, proper legal procedures must be followed to ensure a fair resolution. Landlords should provide the appropriate notices and give tenants a chance to resolve issues before moving forward with eviction. Conversely, tenants should understand their obligations under the lease and act quickly to remedy any violations to avoid eviction.

hash-markFlorida Eviction Process Bottom Line

Evicting a tenant in Florida involves following a set legal process to ensure fairness and legality. Landlords need to provide clear, written notices and follow specific steps before a court will approve an eviction. This article has highlighted the importance of adhering to legal procedures to protect the rights of all parties involved. While eviction is not an ideal outcome, it is sometimes necessary for maintaining order and respect in rental relationships. Remember, seeking advice from a legal professional can help navigate this complex process smoothly.