How to Evict a Tenant in Florida
Two main reasons to evict a tenant in Florida are failure to pay rent or failure to comply with the lease agreement. You must serve the tenant with the proper statutory notice for the eviction to be enforceable. The response time for your tenant to pay their rent or vacate or comply with other lease terms varies depending on whether your tenant is leasing residential property or commercial property. Florida law requires that the notice must be served in person either by the landlord, landlord’s agent, the Sheriff or a Florida licensed process server or sent via certified mail return receipt or overnight mail. Be sure to retain the proof of service for your records.
Notices for Eviction in Florida
Statutory notice times for eviction of Florida residential and commercial tenants are as follows:
- Residential and commercial tenants have three days notice, excluding weekends and legal holidays, in which to pay all their rent or vacate the property.
- Residential tenants have seven days, excluding weekends and legal holidays to cure the non-compliance or vacate the premises.
- Commercial tenants have 15 days, excluding weekends and legal holidays to cure the non-compliance or vacate the premises.
Once the tenant pays the rent or cures the default within the prescribed time, you cannot evict the tenant.
Filing an Eviction Complaint with the Court
If your tenant does not make full payment or leave the property or cure the non-compliance, then you will have to institute an eviction process by filing an Eviction Complaint and Eviction Summons with the court in the county where the property is located. You cannot change the locks or remove the tenant’s property from the premises without obtaining a Judgment for Possession from the court. There will be a hearing set by the court, and the tenant has a chance to answer the complaint and claim legal defenses. If the judge rules in your favor, you must take the judgment and the Writ of Possession to the Sheriff’s office. The Sheriff’s office enforces the judgment by serving the tenant and making sure the tenant vacates the property. There may be a fee charged by the Sheriff’s office for their services. The tenant is liable for the past rent and your fees and costs incurred in connection with the eviction. As a landlord, you must strictly comply with Florida eviction laws, or you will have to start the eviction process all over again. Delays cost you money and time. So it is a good idea to hire a landlord/tenant attorney so there are no mistakes or delays.
Hire an Attorney
It is recommended that you hire a Florida attorney to prepare and file the eviction paperwork because the attorney is an expert at eviction laws. The process will be more efficient, smoother and quicker. This way you can concentrate on getting the property ready for a new tenant.