Landlords should familiarize themselves with the statewide rules and procedures that govern evictions in the state of Florida and understand their responsibilities.
Quick Facts for Florida
- Grounds for Eviction: Failure to pay rent, lease violations, failure to maintain the rental property, causing damage to the rental property, and/or disturbing the peace
- Notice Required for Nonpayment of Rent: 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
- Notice Required to Terminate without Cause: 7- or 15-Day Notice to Quit (weekly and month-to-month tenants, respectively)
- Notice Required for Lease Violations: 7-Day Notice to Cure or Vacate; Unconditional Quit Notice for incurable offenses
- Fastest a Landlord Can Evict for Illegal Acts: 7 days (via Unconditional Quit Notice)
How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant in Florida?
As in most states, the amount of time required to evict a tenant in the state of Florida is difficult to pinpoint. The amount of time required to evict a tenant will vary due to the reason the landlord is seeking an eviction as well as the tenant’s willingness to comply with the eviction process. Although less involved than the eviction process in many states, the eviction process in the state of Florida remains a multi-step process. Combine this fact with the understanding that the court system is often unpredictable, and you will have an understanding of why it is difficult to predict the amount of time it will take to remove a tenant who is unwilling to relocate.
In the state of Florida, the first step in the eviction process is to provide the tenant with a written notice of the landlord’s intention to seek an eviction (F. S. 83 56 (3) & 83 595). This step in itself will require a different amount of waiting time depending upon the reason the landlord is seeking to evict the tenant.
Reasons for Eviction in Florida
There are several reasons that a landlord may seek to evict a tenant in the state of Florida. These reasons include:
- Failure to pay rent
- Violation of the lease agreement
- Failure to maintain the rental property
- Causing damage to the rental property
- Disturbing the peace
- End of the terms of the lease
Eviction for Failure to Pay Rent
If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord is required to provide a written 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit before proceeding with the eviction process (F.S. 83 56 (3)). If the tenant fails to pay the full rental amount by the third business day after he/she received the notice but continues to remain on the property, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by terminating the rental agreement and filing a Summons and Complaint with the court.
Eviction if Rent has Been Paid
In the state of Florida, a landlord may evict a tenant at any time if there is no written lease in place regardless of whether or not the rent has been paid in a timely fashion. If a landlord has a rental agreement with a tenant, he/she must provide a 15-Day Notice to Quit to move if the tenant is paying on a month-to-month basis. If the tenant is renting on a weekly basis, the landlord is only required to provide a 7-Day Notice to Quit to move to the tenant.
If the tenant remains on the property beyond the amount of time noted on the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by Summons and Complaint with the court.
Evicting a Tenant For Violation of Rental Agreement/Lease
The state of Florida recognizes two distinct types of lease violations. In the first type of violation, a curable lease violation, the tenant is provided with time to remedy the cause of concern. In this instance, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a 7-Day Notice to Cure or Vacate (F.S. 83 56 (2((b)). If the tenant fails to remedy the situation within the allowed amount of time, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the court.
With the second type of lease violation, an incurable lease violation, the landlord is allowed to send the tenant a written 7-Day Unconditional Quit Notice to move (F.S. 83.52(2)(a)). In this instance, no time is allowed for the tenants behavior to be altered. An incurable lease violation is generally given for damage to the rental property or repeated lease violations.
If a tenant commits the same violation to a lease within a 12-month period, the landlord does not have to offer the tenant the opportunity to remedy the situation a second time.
If the tenant remains on the property after the amount of time indicated on the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the court.
Evicting a Tenant for Illegal Behavior
As with violations to the lease agreement, the landlord may seek eviction of a tenant for illegal activity. The state of Florida requires that the landlord provide the tenant with a written 7-Day Unconditional Quit Notice unless otherwise indicated in the terms of the lease. If the tenant remains on the property beyond the date indicated on the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the court.
How Does a Landlord Evict a Tenant When There is no Lease?
When a landlord is renting to a tenant without benefit of a written lease in the state of Florida, he/she is required to provide a 15-Day Notice to a tenant renting month-to-month and a 7-Day Notice to a tenant renting weekly. A 30-Day Notice is required to terminate a quarterly lease, and a 60-Day Notice is required to terminate a yearly lease. If the tenant fails to move by the end of the time allotted, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summons and Complaint with the court.
When Can a Tenant Not Be Evicted in Florida?
A Florida landlord may not evict a tenant for complaining to the landlord or the appropriate local or government agency regarding the property. It is also illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for joining, supporting, or organizing a tenant organization or union.
Once a Summons and Complaint is Filed
The court will serve the tenant with a copy of the complaint. He/she then has five days to respond to the complaint. The tenant is required to respond to the complaint in writing and to file this response with the clerk of court. A copy of the tenant’s response will be sent to the landlord. If no response is made, the court may make a default ruling for the landlord. If a response is made, the tenant will also be required to pay the court the amount of any outstanding rent. If there is a disagreement over the amount of rent owed, the tenant may make a motion to the court to have the amount determined.
If the tenant fails to show for the court date, the court will rule for the landlord. If the court finds in favor of the landlord, they will award the landlord a Judgement for Possession. The court will then send a Writ of Possession to the local sheriff who will assist in evicting the tenant.
Once Eviction Occurs
The sheriff will post a notice at the rental property giving the tenant 24 hours to leave. If the tenant remains beyond the 24 hours, the sheriff can assist in evicting them, and a padlock may be placed on the property to keep the tenant from returning. Any belongings left inside the rental property at this point can be used as a lien for damages or monies due the landlord.
Make sure to read the Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 83.56–83.57 & 715.10-715.111 before starting the eviction process. Landlords should make sure to educate themselves on their rights and responsibilities on this topic.