As a landlord in Florida, you have a right to evict your tenant under certain circumstances. Common reasons for a tenant eviction in the state include nonpayment of rent and violation of the lease.
Under Florida landlord-tenant law, all evictions must follow the same process. This process includes having a just cause, serving the tenant with an eviction notice, filing a complaint with the court, attending the court hearing, and eventually removing the tenant.
Please note that it’s illegal to remove a tenant from your property through any other means other than via a court order. Examples of illegal eviction methods include removing a tenant’s belongings, locking them out, or shutting down their utilities.
How Long Does the Eviction Process Take in Florida?
From start to finish, the tenant eviction process in Florida typically takes between two and three weeks. It can also take considerably longer depending on the reason for the eviction and whether the tenant files an appeal.
Notice for Lease Termination with Legal Cause
Before ending a tenancy, you must first provide your tenant with proper notice. You are legally allowed to evict the tenant or break the lease in Florida. The following are the grounds for evicting a tenant in Florida and the appropriate notice you must serve them with.
Nonpayment of Rent
Is your tenant not paying rent on time? If so, you must give them a notice of three days to either pay the missing rent or move out. If the tenant takes no action, you can move forward with the eviction process by going to court. As per the Florida security deposit laws, you are allowed to use a security deposit to cover unpaid rent.
No Lease/End of Lease
Has the lease expired and the tenant is still occupying the rental property? Or, does the tenant not have a lease and you now want to evict them? If so, you must first terminate the lease by serving them a 15-day notice.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice has expired, you can proceed with the process by filing an eviction lawsuit.
Violation of the Lease
You can also evict a tenant for violating the terms of the lease agreement. Violations can either be curable or incurable. Regardless of the issue, though, you must give the tenant seven days to act before proceeding.
Curable violations are minor issues, such as parking in an unauthorized area or having an unauthorized pet. In such cases, the tenant can remain on the property if they rectify the issue within seven days.
Tenants who commit incurable violations don’t have to be given an opportunity to correct the violation. Examples of incurable violations include repeat violations, excessive property damage, and illegal use of the property. If they refuse to leave within seven days, you can go directly to court and file a complaint.
Florida Eviction Notice
As a landlord, you must serve the eviction notice in a particular manner. Otherwise, your tenant may use that as a defense in court and that may derail your efforts. When serving an eviction notice to a Florida tenant, you must do it in one of the following ways.
- Hand delivering the notice to the tenant.
- Mailing a copy of the notice to the tenant via either registered mail, certified mail, or regular mail.
- Leaving a copy of the notice in a conspicuous area on the property.
Filing a Lawsuit with Court
If the tenant refuses to honor the notice and remains on the property, you can file a complaint in court. The court must be in the same county as your property. An alternative to the physical filing process is by using an online portal.
After successful notarization by a clerk, the summons and complaint will be sent to a process server for onward delivery to the tenant. Filing a complaint and summons usually costs about $185. You may also need to pay an additional $10 for every summons that you may need to issue.
After a successful service, the tenant will have an opportunity to respond to the complaint. This may make the process take longer than you’d have earlier anticipated. The following are examples of valid reasons the tenant may give to contest their eviction.
- The reason for the eviction is exaggerated.
- The eviction is a retaliatory action or on the basis of discrimination.
- You used “self-help” eviction tactics to try to get the tenant to leave.
- The tenant resolved the curable violation.
- The tenant didn’t violate any term of the lease agreement.
- The eviction notice had significant errors, such as lacking the effective eviction date.
If the tenant chooses not to contest their eviction, the process will go on unhindered.
Court Hearing & Judgment
If the tenant doesn’t contest the eviction, you may proceed to file a default motion judgment. This will enable you to get a Judgment for Possession, which allows you to take possession of the property back.
With a contest, a hearing will be scheduled. The tenant may be required to deposit any outstanding rent with the court until a final determination is made.
Either way, if the judgment is in your favor, the court will issue you with a Writ of Possession. This will be the final notice to the tenant to leave or be evicted forcefully. It’s only the sheriff or a constable can carry out the physical eviction exercise.
Do you still have a question or need help evicting a difficult tenant from your Broward County rental property? If so, Keyrenter Broward can help.
Keyrenter Broward understands the complexities that come with renting out a property. From marketing and showing your home, to selecting a tenant, to drawing a solid lease agreement, to responding to maintenance requests, to staying legally compliant.
As a full-service property management company, we can help you overcome any challenges you may currently be facing. Get in touch today to learn more!
Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.