The Florida Landlord-Tenant Act gives landlords the right to evict their tenants for lease violations including:
- Nonpayment of rent.
- Foreclose of the rental property.
- Failure to adhere to the terms or break the lease agreement.
- Refusal to leave after the lease period.
- Failure to uphold the responsibilities under the Florida Landlord-Tenant law.
Regardless of the violation, your tenant has committed, though, you must follow the proper eviction process. Meaning, you must not engage in any illegal eviction actions such as:
- Terminating the tenancy without a legal cause.
- Removing the tenant’s belongings from their unit.
- Locking the tenant out of their rented premises.
- Interrupting a utility service that the tenant is entitled to.
- Evicting the tenant because of the race, color, gender, or any other protected characteristic.
What’s the Eviction Process in Florida? Here’s a Guide
Notice for Lease Termination with Legal Cause
To begin an eviction process against a tenant, you must first have a legal ground to do so. Then, you must serve the tenant a proper eviction notice.
- For tenants who pay rent on a monthly basis, you must serve them a 15-Day Notice to Quit.
- For tenants who pay rent on a weekly basis, you must serve them a 7-Day Notice to Quit.
- For tenants who pay rent on a yearly basis, you must serve them a 60-Day Notice to Quit.
Eviction Process for Nonpayment of Rent
As a landlord, you can begin the eviction process against a tenant, for failure to pay rent when the rent is due. For example, if the rent is due on the 1st of the month and your tenant hasn’t paid by the 2nd, then you can begin the eviction process.
Tenants have no right to a legal grace period. But if you offer one, make sure to state it on the lease.
To begin the eviction process, you’ll need to serve your tenant with a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. This notice will give them two options: to pay the rent due or move out.
But whichever option they take, they must act within three days.
Eviction Process for Refusal to Leave after the Lease Term
You can also end a tenancy at any time in the absence of a lease agreement. This usually happens when a tenant continues to stay after their lease has expired. Such a tenant is referred to as a “tenant at will.”
To end the tenancy, you must serve the tenant with the appropriate notice and the amount of notice varies with the time interval at which rent is paid.
These notices give the tenant only a single option: to move out within the notice period. The tenant has no option to “cure” their violation.
Any security deposit issues will need to be resolved at this point too.
Eviction Process for Failure to Adhere to the Terms of the Lease
When a tenant signs a lease, they agree to abide by the terms of the lease agreement. If they don’t, you can evict them.
Some violations are more severe than others, though. But you must give your tenant a chance to fix the issue. Examples of such violations include:
- Keeping a pet when there is a “no-pet” policy.
- Having unauthorized guests or vehicles at the premises.
- Failing to maintain their unit to a certain level of cleanliness.
- Parking in an unauthorized area.
In such cases, you must serve the tenant a 7-Day Notice to Cure or Vacate. This will give them 7 days to either fix the violation or move out. If they continue staying after the 7 days are over, you can continue with the process.
For more serious offenses, tenants don’t get a chance to fix the violation they have committed. You must serve them a 7-Day Unconditional Quit Notice to kickstart the eviction process. The following are examples of incurable violations.
- Causing excessive property damage.
- Engaging in illegal activity.
- Committing the same violation over a period of 12 months.
If the tenant doesn’t leave after 7 days, you can continue with the eviction process.
Eviction Process for Foreclosures
If your property is foreclosed upon and the tenancy isn’t going to continue, you must provide the tenant with a 30 days notice. Specifically, you must serve them the 30-Day Notice to Quit.
If the tenant continues to stay at the property after 30 days, you can continue the eviction process.
Eviction Process for Illegal Activity
To evict a tenant who commits an illegal activity, you must serve them a 7-Day Unconditional Quit Notice.
Summons & Complaint
If the tenant doesn’t move out after the notice period is over, you can move to the next step and file a summons and complaint in court. It goes without saying that the court must be in an applicable county in Florida.
The filing comes at a fee, usually $185. You may also have to pay an additional $10 for every summon that’s issued.
After the sermons are served by a process server, the tenant may choose to contest the eviction. They can do so by alleging any of the following.
- You used “self-help” eviction procedures.
- The eviction notice had errors.
- There was no legal justification for the eviction.
- You retaliated against the tenant.
- The eviction was based on discrimination.
Otherwise, if the tenant doesn’t put up a fight, the court will issue a default judgment in your favor.
Writ of Possession
If the ruling is in your favor, the court will issue you a Writ of Possession. This is the tenant’s final notice to vacate the rented premises. The notice period allows them a chance to remove their belongings before they can be forcefully evicted by a sheriff.
For expert legal advice, get in touch with Jilsa Management. We specialize in providing residential management services in West Palm Beach and the surrounding areas. Get in touch to learn more!
Disclaimer: This blog is in no way a substitute for professional legal advice. Also, laws change, and this blog might not be up to date at the time of your reading.