Under Florida landlord-tenant laws (FL Statute Chapter 83), both tenants and landlords gain a variety of rights and responsibilities. Among these is the right to evict a tenant for violating the lease agreement.
But the eviction process in Florida is complex and requires both legal knowledge and experience to get the most out of, which is why we at Volusia County Property Management have put together this guide:
What is the Eviction Process in Florida? Here is a Guide
As a landlord, you can evict a tenant who fails to abide by the terms of the lease agreement. Here are some common lease violations in the state of Florida:
- Failure to pay rent
- Refusal to leave after the term expires
- Failure to uphold the terms of the lease
- Foreclose of the rental property
- Failure to uphold the responsibilities outlined under the Florida landlord-tenant laws
The first step in the eviction process begins with providing an eviction notice to the tenant. There are different eviction notices for different violations. They are as follows:
3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
Should the tenant fail to pay rent, you would issue them with this notice. It’ll give them 3 days to pay up or move out and if they don’t, you can move to court.
Unless stated otherwise on the lease, rent becomes due on the 1st of every month. So, if your tenant doesn’t pay it in full by the 2nd of the month, it’d be considered late. You can begin the eviction process at this point.
Tenants have no right to a grace period. But if you offer one, make sure to have it in the lease agreement.
7/15/30/60-Day Notice to Quit
You can evict a tenant at any time if there is no lease in place. A tenant who rents a property without a written lease is referred to as a ‘tenant at will.’ To start their eviction, you must provide the tenant with an appropriate notice that reflects their rent cycle.
So, if your tenants paid rent on a weekly basis, you must serve them a 7-Day Notice to Quit. For those who pay on a monthly basis, you must give them a 15-Day Notice to Quit and so on. If the tenant will not have moved out after the notice period, you can move to court.
30-Day Notice to Quit
If your rental property is being foreclosed and causes the tenancy to be discontinued, the incoming owner must serve the tenant a 30-Day Notice to Quit.
If the tenant continues staying on the property after the notice period, you can move to court.
7-Day Notice to Cure or Vacate
This particular notice is meant for minor offenses. For example, an unauthorized pet surpasses the occupancy limit and fails to maintain the unit to a certain level of cleanliness and sanitation.
The notice gives the tenant two options: fix the violation or move out. If they don’t take either action or continue to stay after the 7 days, you can move to court.
7-Day Unconditional Quit Notice
This notice is used for more serious violations as, unlike the previous notice, this doesn’t give the tenant an opportunity to fix their violation. They must move out within the 7-day period or else get evicted.
You must give this notice to tenants who cause excessive property damage, use the property for illegal activity, or cause repeated violations of curable offenses.
You must serve the eviction notice in a proper way or the eviction process will fail. You have three options in this regard. You can hand deliver it in person, mail a copy via their last known address, or leave a copy in a conspicuous place for the tenant.
Summons & Complaint
Should the tenant either refuse to leave or complete their required actions, the eviction process would continue with the action being filed at a local court. At the court, you must file a complaint in the county where your property is located. The filing will cost you about $180.
The county clerk will have to notarize the summons before it can be issued to a process server for delivery. Normally, it takes Florida courts two to three days to issue the summons.
Once the notice has been served, the tenant will have the choice of either contesting or not contesting their eviction. If the tenant chooses to contest the eviction, the eviction process will pause to allow the court to investigate the conflict.
The tenant may challenge their eviction by claiming:
- You employed ‘self-help’ eviction procedures. Such procedures include shutting down essential services, changing door locks, or removing the tenant’s belongings.
- There is evidence that you discriminated against the tenant on the basis of their race, color, or any other protected class.
- The eviction contained errors.
- You falsely accused your tenant of a violation.
- You failed to maintain the unit to acceptable standards or breached the Fair Housing Act.
If the tenant doesn’t contest the eviction, however, you’ll need to obtain a Judgment of Possession. This simply means that you won the eviction lawsuit against your tenant.
Writ of Possession
Once the Judgment of Possession has been made, the court will subsequently issue you a Writ of Possession. This will authorize the county sheriff to carry out the eviction on your behalf.
It’ll give the tenant 24 hours to vacate the unit or else get forcefully evicted from the unit. You must change the locks immediately after the eviction has been carried out.
Additionally, if you have taken a security deposit, you may have to return it depending on the circumstances.
As shown, the eviction laws in Florida are complex. But with the help of Volusia County Property Management, they don’t need to be stressed.
If you have any questions regarding this or any other aspect of property management, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Disclaimer: This blog shouldn’t be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney. Laws frequently change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regard to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.