What is the Eviction Process in Florida

In the state of Florida, eviction notices are governed under Chapter 83 of landlord-tenant laws. These statutes must be followed by landlords who are evicting a tenant for not following the stipulations of a lease or have not paid their rent on time. Although many eviction notices are grounded on solid legal foundations, the state of Florida also gives tenants every opportunity to defend themselves and fight off an eviction.

If you own rental property in Florida and have a problematic tenant that qualifies for an eviction, then here is the information that you'll need to know. If your tenant has not paid their rent on time. Landlords who are seeking to evict a tenant because they have not paid their rent on time must provide a 3 day notice to vacate for failing to pay the rent. It must be named “3 Day Notice for Failure to Pay” or in similar language that makes the notice clear as to why it has been issued. It must also include how a tenant can come into compliance once again and have the full amount that is due for compliance. If your tenant has violated the lease. Landlords who are seeking to evict a tenant because they have failed to follow the lease that has been signed must be given a 7 day notice to vacate. It must also be specifically titled and include the specific reasons for the violate. Keeping pets when they are not allowed qualifies as a lease violation and qualifies as a valid eviction. If the tenant does not move out of the property on time or satisfy the conditions of the notice, then a landlord must file for an eviction with the local court system. This complaint must occur in the county where the rental property is located. This complaint will cause the court to set a hearing date that the landlord and tenant must both attend. Tenants have 5 days to answer this complaint and provide a defense.


How Could a Tenant Have a Legitimate Eviction Defense?

The #1 reason why landlords lose an eviction hearing is that they attempt to force tenants out of their property on their own. This is often done by changing the locks or calling to have the utilities shut-off. Landlords who do this may still win the overall eviction proceeding, but may be ordered to pay their tenant up to 3 months' rent in damages. Sometimes an eviction notice will have errors on it that disqualify it as a legal notice. If the date a tenant must be out of the rental is not included, then the court will consider the notice defective and rule in favor of the tenant. In this instance, the landlord will need to start the eviction process over from the beginning. Tenants that have fixed the violation in question cannot be evicted. This includes when rent is paid within the notice period if it is late. Fixing the violation is considered a legitimate defense and a landlord may be ordered to pay the tenant's legal fees if they proceed with the eviction anyway. As long as landlords or property managers stick to the facts and do not retaliate against a tenant and keep a well-maintained property, then tenants will generally be evicted if they fail to perform. Keep these facts in mind and you will limit the legal costs that you face – and may even have the court award you with compensation from the tenant.

Posted on Jan 28, 2015


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