What is a Residential Eviction?
A residential eviction can occur when a tenant violates or materially breaches the tenancy terms. An eviction can also result if the tenant refuses to move out after their lease term has subsided.
Chapter 83 contains the laws and obligations of the tenant and landlord in Florida.
What Steps Does a Landlord Need to Take to Evict a Tenant?
The process has several steps to ensure that it is practical and legal. Read below to learn more.
- The tenant must be given a default notice requiring them to vacate the premises. In some cases, this may be a 3-day notice requiring them to pay the past due rent that is owed.
- File an eviction with the appropriate county and the plaintiff and defendant’s contact information and current address.
- The eviction complaint must contain verbiage stating an attempt to evict has been made, that the landlord owns the property at said address, and include the date the most recent rent was due and whether or not the rent was paid. The landlord must also pay the required fee.
- The tenant has five working days to respond to the complaint. The tenant can file a response or produce rent payments during this time.
- Ensure that the tenant receives the notice, so they are aware of the timeline to respond.
- The landlord can then file a motion seeking default judgment should the tenant refuse to comply with the notice.
- The courts will review the case and the tenant’s response to determine judgment or to schedule a hearing. Once the courts have provided a decision, if warranted, the landlord can rely on the police to evict the tenant by providing them with a writ of possession.
What Options Do I Have as a Landlord in Florida?
Landlords can follow the process to legally evict a tenant who is in breach of their contract. A landlord can not take matters into their own hands and attempt to evict the tenant without the proper legal process.
Landlords also can not shut off the heat, water, or power from a tenant’s home in an attempt to get them to leave. If a landlord is found to have engaged in these activities, they can result in a hefty lawsuit against the landlord.
If the courts find that you can evict the tenant and the police have been given a writ of possession (24-hour notice) to evict the tenant, it is important not to impede this process. The landlord must wait until the police are on the property and have performed their duties, ensuring that no people or pets are left inside the property. It can benefit the landlord to have a locksmith ready to inhibit the tenant or others from re-entering the property after the eviction.
How Long Does the Residential Eviction Process Take in Florida?
In Florida, the eviction process can take weeks to a few months to complete. If the process has been started and the tenant complies without complaint, the process can take effect relatively quickly. In the case of an uncontested eviction, where the tenant does not respond to the eviction notice, the process can be completed promptly by a police officer once the courts make their judgment–this process can often be completed in around 4-6 weeks.
If the tenant contests the eviction, they may hire legal representation to help them prove why they feel an eviction isn’t necessary. An experienced attorney can provide specialized guidance on how to proceed within eviction laws.
What is a Seven-Day Notice With Opportunity to Cure?
Suppose a tenant is found to be out of compliance with their lease through illegal activity or another violation. In that case, the landlord may choose to file a seven-day notice with the opportunity to cure.
This option allows the tenant to be aware of the violation and gives them seven days to return to compliance with their original agreement. If the tenant refuses to make the necessary adjustments, the landlord may file an eviction in court.
Examples of a time when a seven-day notice with the option to cure may be used are if the tenant has a pet that was not approved, they consistently park where they aren’t allowed to, they fail to keep the premises safe and sanitary, or an unauthorized tenant is residing on the property.
The tenant will have seven days to resolve the issue and provide sufficient proof that they are now compliant to suffice the complaint.
If repeated issues occur, the landlord also has the option to file a seven-day notice without an opportunity to cure.
Some examples of where a need for a notice without an opportunity to cure would be if the tenant willfully damages the property and has repeated violations in the past leading to seven-day notices with the opportunity to cure, misuse of the property, and more.
Why Work With an Attorney?
Several laws in place protect both landlords and tenants. Understanding your rights and remaining compliant is crucial to ensure the process is effective and smooth. An experienced attorney can help ensure you stay compliant and avoid making costly mistakes.
Whether you are the landlord or the tenant, eviction is never fun. It doesn’t, however, have to be overwhelming and can proceed smoothly when effectively handled.
Contact our office today at (407) 426-7222 to learn how we can best assist you in protecting yourself as a landlord or tenant in the state of Florida. We have years of experience working tirelessly for our clients and are confident we can help you, too.