The state of Florida’s eviction law is favorable to landlords. Per Florida landlord tenant law, a lanlord must have legal cause in order to start the eviction process against their tenant. Legal grounds for eviction in Florida include nonpayment of rent, lease violations, and failure to move out after the end of the lease term.
You may be wondering how long does the eviction process take in Florida? Unlike other states where evictions can take months, an eviction in Florida can be completed in as little as two to three weeks!
If you want to know how to evict someone in Florida, you can read the following overview of the evictions in Florida.
Grounds for Evicting a Tenant in Florida
Nonpayment of Rent
Has your Florida tenant missed their rent payment? If so, a landlord can evict them per Florida eviction laws. By default, rent is due on the date indicated in the lease agreement and becomes late the next day if the tenant does not pay rent.
To begin this process using Florida eviction notices, a landlord must serve them a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit. If the tenant fails to acknowledge your written notice and continues to occupy the unit after the 3 days notice period has passed, you can move on to the next step of the process.
Lease Agreement Violations
Florida tenants have a responsibility to abide by all terms of the lease or rental agreement. If a tenant breaks a lease in Florida, a landlord will have legal grounds to evict them from their rental unit. Florida categorizes lease agreement violations into two categories, incurable violations and curable violations.
Curable violations are minor offenses. They include instances when a tenant violates the lease by keeping an unauthorized pet, parking in an unauthorized area, or failing to clean the unit adequately.
In these cases, the eviction process begins in Florida by serving the tenant with a 7-day notice. If they fix the violation within 7 days, the eviction halts.
However, if they don’t remedy the issues within a week of receiving your written notice, or repeat the same violation within a 12-month period of receiving the notice you can move to an appropriate court and file an eviction lawsuit.
For serious offenses, a landlord doesn’t have to give the tenant an opportunity to fix the issue they’ve caused. Examples of incurable violations include conducting illegal activity on the property and causing excessive property damage.
After committing these kinds of violations, the tenant will have a maximum of 7 days to vacate the premises. If they don’t, the landlord can move to court and file an eviction lawsuit.
How to Serve a Florida Eviction Notice
There are specific ways that a Florida landlord can serve an eviction notice to their tenant.
If the landlord doesn’t follow these protocols, their tenant can provide proof that the notice wasn’t served appropriately as a defense in court against their eviction. While this won’t fully stop the eviction, it will prolong it and prevent the landlord from placing high-quality tenants on their property.
So, what is the proper way to serve a tenant with an eviction notice in Florida? A landlord can deliver the notice in one of three ways.
A landlord can either deliver the proper notice to the tenant in person mail a copy of the notice to the tenant via either regular mail, registered mail, or certified mail, or they can leave a copy of it on the tenant’s front door, or in any other conspicuous place on the property.
Be sure to keep a signed copy of the notice you provide to your tenant as proof of service.
Filing a Lawsuit in Court
According to Florida law, this is the next step of the eviction. Filing a lawsuit in court involves the landlord filing a Florida eviction complaint to the appropriate county clerk before the court hearing. We recommend using an e-filing portal as it’s the most convenient way to file a lawsuit.
Before you file your lawsuit be sure your complaint contains your name, your tenant’s name, the rental property address and the legal grounds for the eviction.
After your complaint has been notarized by a county court clerk, a process server will serve your complaint to the tenant. In most cases, the process server is usually the county sheriff or their deputy.
The typical fee for filing an eviction complaint is around $180. You will also need to pay an additional $10 for every summons you serve.
Tenants in Florida have a right to respond to the complaint they have been served with. When a tenant contests the complaint it must be in writing and they will need to file it with the court’s clerk within 5 days of receiving the complaint.
In order to contest an eviction through a Florida eviction lawsuit, a tenant must have a legally justified reason, such as:
- The landlord attempted to evict tenants from the property using self-help methods, such as removing the tenant’s belongings from the property.
- The tenant fixed their curable violation but the landlord still continued with the eviction process in Florida.
- The eviction was filed for discriminatory reasons against the tenants who rent the unit.
- The landlord decided to evict a tenant as retaliation for tenant exercising one of their legal rights.
- The eviction charges were exaggerated or false.
- The notice had substantial errors, such as an omitted notice period when the landlord tried to evict a tenant.
If the tenant doesn’t contest their eviction case, the process continues as follows.
Filing a Default Judgment
If the tenant doesn’t fight the eviction, your next step is filing a default judgment in a court hearing. This will help you obtain a Judgment for Possession. Whether or not the tenant contested their eviction, if the ruling is in your favor per Florida law, the court will subsequently issue a Writ of Possession.
Removing the Tenant
In Florida, it’s the sheriff’s responsibility to serve a Writ of Possession to a tenant. This legal document gives the sheriff the authority to forcefully remove a tenant from the rental unit.
In Florida, a Writ of Possession gives the tenant a maximum of 24 hours to vacate the property on their own. If they don’t, the sheriff will return and forcefully remove them.
Knowing the proper eviction processes is critical to the success of every Florida landlord! For expert help in matters regarding eviction laws in Florida, Florida security deposit laws, or Florida Landlord-Tenant Law in general, look no further than Stringer Management!
We’re an experienced and professional property management company in Sarasota. Get in touch with our property managers today to learn more about our comprehensive property management services!
Disclaimer: This content isn’t a substitute for professional legal advice from a qualified Florida eviction attorney. Laws change and this content may not be updated at the time of your reading.