The Eviction Process in Florida
According to the Florida Bar, the moment a person begins to pay rent they become a tenant who is governed by Florida law. This means that the tenant has certain rights and responsibilities. These can be found in the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act. When a person accepts a rental payment, they too fall under the same act in the capacity of a Landlord.
As a whole, the state of Florida tends to lean more towards the side of the landlord when it comes to making the rules. Florida law prohibits rent control and doesn’t have any restrictions on security deposit amounts or late fees. With that being said, Florida law also makes the process of an eviction fairly straightforward. The two situations where the court tends to lean in favor of the landlord are nonpayment of rent and violation of a term on the lease. In the typical uncontested nonpayment of rent situation the average eviction takes three to four weeks.
Step 1: Give Proper Notice
Like most states in the United States, the first step in the eviction process is giving the tenant written notice. There are three different types of notices to be given out depending on the scenario you are in. Below, we have written out which notices apply to which scenario you may find yourself in.
Not Paying Rent? The 3-Day Notice
In the case of nonpayment of rent, you would give a tenant a 3-day notice. In plain english, this notice conveys the message of: “if you do not make payment within 3 business days I will start the eviction process.” Keep in mind, the three days that need to go by do not include the day of posting the notice, weekends, or holidays. The official Florida Statute 83.56 regarding termination of rental agreement can be seen here for reference (number 3 specifically.) Also, the amount you write on the three day notice should only be the rental amount owed. Do not include any late fees, postage fees, etc.
Causing Issues In The Property? The 7-Day Notice
In the case that the tenant is violating a term on the lease and in noncompliance, you would need to provide them with a 7-day notice to cure the violation. Generally, the situations that use this notice are tenants letting unauthorized people live in the property, keeping the exterior of the unit in poor condition, or having unauthorized pets on the property. By Florida law, the tenants obligations are as follows: to keep the premises compliant with local government codes, keep clean and sanitary, remove all garbage in proper manner, use appliances in a reasonable manner, not destroy or deface any part of the premises or property belonging to the landlord, and to not disturb the peace.
There is a different 7-day notice that applies to an eviction in which the violation can not be cured. This would apply in a more troublesome scenario, like if the tenant is continuously causing issues or caused damage to the landlords property.
Month To Month Tenant? The 15-Day Notice
The 15-day notice is only necessary when dealing with a month to month tenancy. You need to give your month-to-month tenant this notice 15 days before they are due to pay rent. Florida Statute 83.57(3) states that “A tenancy without a specific duration may be terminated by either party giving written notice in the manner provided in when the tenancy is from month to month, by giving not less than 15 days’ notice prior to the end of any monthly period.” Source
Step 2: File Action
Is the Tenant Still Not Paying After The Three-Day Notice?
In the non-payment of rent situation, if the tenant does not pay their balance due after being served the 3-day notice the landlord has the right to file action. Once the landlord files eviction action, the tenant is then served and has only 5 business days to respond to the complaint.
Is The Tenant Still Not Fixing The Issue?
If the tenant does not fix the specified problem within that 7-day notice period, the landlord has the right to file action.
Step 3: Wait for Tenant Response
The Tenant Did Not Respond
If the tenant does not respond, this step is fairly straightforward. It will show the Judge and the court that the tenant has no intention of making the situation right or even giving their story as to why they can not pay. This will allow the landlord to take the next step and file a Motion for Final Default Judgement of Eviction.
The Tenant Did Respond
This is where the eviction process can get tricky. Depending on the reason for eviction this can go in a few different directions. The final result will usually lean towards the fairest outcome. Due to the fact that evictions are such a case-by-case issue, it would be impossible to walk through every scenario. With FL Home Buyers you could avoid the potential downfall of the judge siding with the tenant. Call us and let us give you our opinion on the situation.
Step 4: Enter Final Default Judgement And Take Possession
Once the Final Judgment of Eviction is entered upon, the Judge will inform the Clerk of Court to go ahead and execute the Writ of Possession. According to Florida Statute 83.62 A Writ of Possession is what will restore possession of the property to the landlord. On the document will be a date and time that the landlord will meet with the sheriff to remove the tenant from the premises.
While the eviction process and its steps may seem simple on paper, the process can get much more complicated when it’s applied in the real world. Is your grounds for eviction going to hold up in front of a judge? Is it a fair case for an eviction? Does it make sense to let a professional handle it? Having been through these issues ourselves, we know it is hard to see clearly when you are emotionally and financially involved. Give us a call at FL Home Buyers today and see how we can offer our help.