When a tenant signs a lease in Florida, they agree to abide by its terms for a certain period. They agree, for instance, to pay rent, care for the unit, and abide by all rental policies.
While the majority of tenants will honor their lease obligations, some, unfortunately, won’t. They may stop paying rent, cause property damage, or even engage in illegal activities.
Luckily for you, Florida landlord-tenant laws provide landlords with the step-by-step process of how to go about the process. Following the correct legal eviction process is mandatory.
If you would like to learn more about the process, keep reading.
Overview of Florida’s Eviction Process
1. Eviction Notice
The first step in any tenant eviction process begins with a written eviction notice. The notice must include certain information for it to be valid. For example, if you’re evicting a tenant for nonpayment of rent, the eviction notice must state:
- The rent amount the tenant owes you.
- The address of your rental property.
- The name of the tenant.
- The date the tenant is required to have paid all due rent.
- The landlord’s name, address, and contact information.
If you don’t include any of this information, the tenant might use that as a defense against their eviction.
The following are the various eviction notices in the state of Florida:
3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
In Florida, landlords can evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent. Florida statutes state that rent becomes due on the 1st of the month. So, if a tenant doesn’t pay it by the 2nd of the month, it’s considered late.
Tenants don’t have a right to a grace period but you may choose to provide them with one and list it in the lease agreement.
Once rent becomes late, you have to present the tenant with a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. This notice gives the tenant two options, pay the due rent within 3 days or move out. Should the tenant fail to take either option, you can move forward with the eviction process.
7 to 60-Day Notice to Quit
Do you wish to evict a holdover tenant, or not to renew a lease after the existing term ends? If so, you must serve the tenants with a lease termination notice.
The notice period depends on the time interval in which the tenant pays rent. For tenants that pay rent on a :
- Weekly basis, you must serve them a 7-Day Notice to Quit.
- Month-to-month basis, you must present them with a 15 Day Notice to Quit.
- Quarterly basis, you must serve them a 30-Day Notice to Quit.
- Yearly lease, you must provide them with a 60-Day Notice to Quit.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice lapses, you can proceed with the eviction process.
7-Day Notice to Cure or Vacate
In Florida, you can evict a tenant for failing to uphold their lease responsibilities. Examples of curable offenses include failure to maintain the unit to acceptable levels of cleanliness or throwing large, noisy parties.
The notice in this instance gives the tenant two options: to remedy the violation or vacate their rental premises. For repeated violations, within 12 months, however, you are not required to provide the tenant with an option to cure their violation.
7-Day Unconditional Quit Notice
This notice is meant for more severe offenses. Unlike the previous notice, it doesn’t allow tenants an opportunity to remedy their offenses.
Examples of incurable violations include repeated lease violations, illegal use of the property, and excessive property damage. If the tenant doesn’t move after the 7 days are over, you can move on to the court and seek their assistance.
2. Filing of Complaint
Next, you must file a complaint in the appropriate court if the tenant doesn’t meet the eviction notice requirements. Once the county clerk notarizes it, a process server will be given the Summons and complaints to the tenant.
After the tenant has been successfully served, it’ll be up to them to choose whether or not to contest the eviction. If they choose to contest, they must do so in writing and file it with the court’s clerk and you will be mailed a copy of their response.
If the tenant chooses to fight the eviction, the court will schedule a hearing. Common tenant eviction defenses include:
- The eviction notice had errors. For example, the eviction notice didn’t state the violation committed or didn’t state the notice period.
- The landlord used “self-help” eviction methods. Did you try to lock out the tenant or remove their belongings? If you did, the eviction process will fail and you may find yourself in legal hot water. Only a court, via a sheriff, can physically evict a tenant from their rented premises.
- The eviction was a retaliatory act or based on discrimination.
3. Writ of Restitution
After a successful ruling in your favor, the court will issue a writ of restitution. This legal document allows the sheriff to physically remove a tenant from their rented premises.
For more information on eviction, security deposit laws, landlord-tenant laws, or for help managing your rental properties, kindly get in touch with Ackley Florida Property Management. Their qualified real estate experts will be able to answer any questions you may have.
Disclaimer: This blog isn’t a substitute for expert legal advice. Also, laws keep changing and the information herein may not be up to date at the time you read it. Alternatively, hire a qualified attorney.