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By: Roberto Vazquez

The Eviction Process in Multifamily Housing: Unique Challenges and Solutions

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Eviction Process in Florida

The eviction process in Florida, as well as many other states, can be complex. Learning how to navigate the process can not only save you time and money, but your sanity as a landlord.

There are ways to evict a tenant that will keep you compliant with the state of Florida and avoid complications of using illegal means to evict, which can create issues for you and your real estate endeavors.

Late Rent Payments

Late rent payments are one of the main issues that bring about eviction possibilities. One of the first steps should you find yourself in a situation where a tenant is habitually late or several months behind on rent is to send them a notice requesting payment in full. If they do so, it’s still beneficial for you to document any late payments to ensure that a habit of late payments is on record should you need to address the situation again.

As Florida Statutes state, “if the tenant fails to pay rent when due and the default continues for three days, excluding weekend days and holidays, after delivery of written demand by the landlord for payment of the rent or possession of the premise, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement.”

Other Common Reasons for Eviction

A lease violation is another common reason to consider eviction. It’s best practice to send a written warning letting the tenant know that they are in violation of the lease terms. Some of the common examples of violations are;

Subletting a unit: If you have specific verbiage in your rental agreements against subletting a rental unit and you discover that your tenant has done this, you can send a warning to the tenant to amend the violation and give them a set amount of time to do so. Typically, a couple of weeks or a month may be sufficient time for the tenant to amend the violation and provide evidence that they have successfully rectified the violation.

Unauthorized animals: If you have a strict “no pet” policy or one that sets a weight or breed restriction and the tenant has violated this, you can send a request asking them to fix the issue within a set period of time.

Smoking: Some landlords choose to restrict smoking within a certain distance of the property or within the rental units, and if you discover that a tenant is not abiding by this restriction, you can request that they stop.

Nuisance in Multifamily Communities

If you have multiple units and you hear complaints regarding other tenants, that’s common and reasonable, as there will likely always be issues among tenants. However, you may want to pursue eviction through proper channels if there is a consistent complaint about a specific tenant. A best practice is to include specific vocabulary in the lease regarding nuisance activity, such as loud music or times of the day when noisier activities are allowed. By having this clear expectation in the lease and having the tenant sign it, you may avoid significant issues in the future.

How to Give Notice for Eviction

To legally evict a tenant, you must provide adequate written notice of your intent to terminate their tenancy. The length of notice required will depend upon the reason for the eviction. Choosing the correct type of notice for the situation is critical to avoid legal issues with removing the tenant, should it become necessary. If you have questions or concerns about drafting or serving an eviction notice, you should contact a knowledgeable landlord law attorney for guidance.

The four types of eviction notices in Florida are:

  • Three-day notice to quit: If a tenant has not paid rent, you may serve them with a three-day notice. The notice must clearly state the total rent amount due.
  • Seven-day notice to comply or vacate: For non-compliance with the terms of the lease agreement, such as failing to remove trash or allowing an unapproved person to live in the unit, the landlord can file a seven-day notice. The tenant then has seven days, not counting holidays or weekends, to fix the issue and avoid lease termination.
  • Seven-day unconditional quit notice: Under certain circumstances, you may be able to file a seven-day notice without giving the tenant an opportunity to fix the issue. Repeated violations of lease terms within a year or damage to the property may justify this type of notice.
  • Fifteen-day notice to vacate: Tenants on a month-to-month lease must generally be informed of your intent to evict at least fifteen days before rent is due.

What Practices to Avoid When Considering Eviction of Tenants

If you are considering eviction in Florida, there are a few guidelines to help ensure you are compliant as a landlord.

If you wish to evict a tenant, it’s essential to document the request rather than shutting off utilities or changing the locks. These actions can result in the tenant having the right to challenge the eviction.

Landlord discrimination is another issue to be aware of. It’s vital to ensure you are not illegally discriminating against a tenant based on their age, color, religious affiliation, or other protected status. The Fair Housing Act protects tenants against discrimination, and violating that as a landlord can become a federal issue. 

Simple errors in the eviction notice can delay the process or create complications. It’s vital to ensure that all dates and requirements are clearly noted on the requests sent to the tenant so there’s no miscommunication on what you expect of them. Errors can sometimes lead to the tenant challenging the eviction in court, delaying the process and potentially costing you more money.

Our Team. Your Invaluable Resource

Let our capable and tireless team help to protect your assets by assisting you in your landlord journey. Whether it’s reviewing your lease agreements to ensure they are bulletproof or pursuing an eviction process, we help our clients remain compliant and avoid unnecessary issues.

With multiple years of helping clients of all sizes in Florida, we provide a personalized approach, respect for the issues landlords face, and a tireless work ethic. Don’t let small issues become big problems. Contact our office at (407) 904-9166 today for your initial consultation and to learn how we can assist you. 

We look forward to serving you.