Eviction can be a daunting and intricate legal process for landlords and tenants alike. Just like in many other states, Florida has its own set of laws and procedures governing the eviction process. It is essential for both parties involved to have a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities to effectively navigate this process.
In this article, we will provide a guide to the eviction process in Florida, outlining the laws, steps, and important considerations for all parties involved.
Landlords in Florida usually initiate evictions for specific reasons called “grounds for eviction.” These grounds for eviction commonly observed in Florida include:
Nonpayment of Rent: In the event of rent nonpayment, landlords possess the right to initiate eviction proceedings. To begin this process, they must serve a three-day notice demanding payment or requesting that the tenant vacate the property.
Lease Violations: In case a tenant violates any terms stated in the lease agreement, such as housing a pet despite its prohibition. The landlord possesses the authority to either issue a notice for rectification within a span of seven days or terminate the lease agreement altogether.
Expired Lease: If a lease has expired and the tenant refuses to vacate, the landlord can initiate eviction proceedings by serving a written notice to terminate the lease agreement.
Criminal Activity: In cases of criminal activity, if a tenant is found engaging in illegal actions on the rental property. The landlord holds the right to proceed with eviction by serving them a seven-day notice.
Nuisance: When persistent disturbances, excessive noise, or other disruptive behaviors invade the peacefulness of neighbors’ lives, it may provide valid grounds for eviction.
Unauthorized Occupants: If there are unauthorized occupants living in the rental unit without the landlord’s permission. For individuals who were not named on the lease, the landlord has the right to issue a notice to cure or vacate within seven days.
Health and Safety Violations: When health and safety codes are violated, jeopardizing the property or putting other tenants at risk, eviction may be necessary.
Foreclosure: If the property is foreclosed upon, tenants may be evicted with a 30-day notice.
The process of evictions in Florida consists of several specific steps that landlords must adhere to strictly in order to legally remove them from the rental property. Here is a overview of the process:
If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord must provide a three-day notice to pay rent or vacate the premises. This notice must be in writing and clearly state the amount of rent owed and the deadline for payment. If the tenant fails to pay the rent within the three-day period, the landlord can proceed with the eviction process.
Landlords must issue a notice to address lease violations other than nonpayment of rent. This notice should be given within seven days, specifying the nature of the violation and allowing the tenant a seven-day period for rectification.
If the violation remains uncorrected within this timeframe, the landlord has the right to proceed with eviction.
If the lease has expired and the tenant refuses to leave, the landlord must issue a written notice to terminate the lease. The specific notice period varies depending on the type of lease agreement in place.
If the tenant chooses to stay on the property beyond the specified notice period, then the landlord has the authority to initiate an eviction process.
If the tenant fails to comply with the notice to pay rent, notice to cure violation, or notice to terminate the lease, the next course of action for the landlord is to initiate an eviction lawsuit in the appropriate county court.
This legal proceeding, commonly known as an eviction or “unlawful detainer” lawsuit, is necessary for resolving the situation.
To start the lawsuit, the landlord needs to take a few steps. First, they must file a complaint with the court and pay the necessary fees. Then, they are required to serve the tenant with a summons and a copy of the complaint. Once served, the tenant has five days to respond accordingly.
If the tenant responds to the complaint, the court will schedule a hearing. During this hearing, both parties will have an opportunity to present their case and provide evidence.
If the court finds in favor of the landlord, it will issue a writ of possession. This writ allows the sheriff to physically remove the tenant from the property if they refuse to voluntarily leave.
After the court issues a writ of possession, the landlord can request the sheriff’s assistance to execute it. The sheriff will then arrange a specific date for physically removing the tenant from the property.
It is crucial to understand that involving the sheriff is necessary during this eviction process, as landlords are not permitted to forcefully evict tenants themselves.
Florida eviction laws mandates that landlords must store a tenant’s personal belongings for a period of 10 days after their eviction. Should tenants fail to claim their property within this timeframe, the landlord then has the authority to dispose of it.
Tenants in Florida have certain rights during the eviction process to protect them from wrongful eviction.
These rights include:
Tenants facing evictions in Florida can assert various defenses to contest the eviction.
Some common defenses include:
The duration of the eviction process in Florida can vary widely depending on several factors. Including the specific circumstances of the case and the county where the eviction is filed. On average, the eviction process in Florida can take anywhere from several weeks to several months.
The rules for eviction notice in Florida vary depending on the reason for the eviction. However, there are some general rules that apply to all evictions:
Florida eviction process is a structured legal procedure designed to protect the rights of both landlords and tenants. It’s essential for landlords to follow the proper steps and provide proper notice, and for tenants to understand their rights and potential defenses.