Read further to learn more about the eviction process in Florida and how many days’ notice are required in which situations.
What is an Eviction Notice?
An eviction notice is a legal form of disclosure that lets a tenant know that they are in clear violation of their lease agreement, and either need to correct the issue or vacate the premises. If the tenant fails to take action after proper legal notice is given, the landlord may evict the tenant. When a landlord provides written legal notice to a tenant to correct a violation of the lease agreement, it is referred to as a “Notice to Quit.” The terms of the Notice to Quit will vary depending on the situation. While many tenants will choose to move out of the unit after receiving a Notice to Quit, sometimes further action is required. The following information outlines the specific steps a landlord must take to formally evict a tenant from their rental property, from delivering a Notice to Quit to obtaining a Writ of Possession. You will also find detailed instructions on creating an eviction notice specific to the state of Florida.
Evicting a Tenant in Florida
Take note though that the state of Florida follows strict procedural rules when it comes to evictions. Landlords who resort to eviction must accomplish all of the following:
- Write a notice to vacate or move out
- Serve a summons and complaint (otherwise called “service of process”)
- Allow the tenant sufficient time to respond
- Posting a Writ of Possession
Additionally, there are things landlords cannot do in order to get a tenant to vacate a property. These include
- changing the locks on the doors
- taking the tenant’s property without their permission
- removing doors or windows
- cutting the tenant’s access to water or power
Doing any of these is illegal in Florida, and could be grounds for the filing of damages.
Additionally, the notice of eviction forms should be completed in triplicate. The original copy of the notice of eviction should be hand delivered to the tenant at the residence. If no one is at home when the notice is delivered, the notice of eviction may be left at the residence (posted in a conspicuous place) or sent to the tenant via US mail.
Depending upon the situation, the landlord will provide the tenant with either a three-day notice, seven-day notice, or a fifteen-day notice of eviction.
Landlords are also required to provide at least two copies of the notice and the lease to the Clerk of the Court office in the county where the property exists. A copy of the notice and lease agreement will be provided for each tenant that is renting the property and one for the court.
Three (3)-Day Notice
If the tenant is being evicted for unpaid rent, the landlord must provide the tenant with a three-day notice of eviction in writing, advising them to vacate the property or pay the rent. The full amount of rent due must be included in the notice.
For a three-day notice of eviction that is mailed to the tenant, the tenant can reply to the notice via mail. The courts will add an additional five days for mailing for the tenant to receive the letter from the landlord. Also, an additional five days will be added for the letter sent back to the landlord from the tenant. Therefore, a three-day notice of eviction handled by mail can end up taking thirteen days to complete.
At the end of three days (not counting weekends and legal holidays, nor the date the notice was delivered), if the tenant is still in the property and has not responded to the notice, the landlord will file a complaint for eviction at the Clerk of the Court’s office. A copy of the lease, if applicable, will be included with the eviction notice. In accordance with Florida State Statute 83.56 (3), the eviction for non-payment of rent can be filed by the property owner, owner’s agent, or an attorney for the owner.
If the tenant contests the eviction, no further action can be taken by the tenant. Any additional actions regarding the eviction must be handled by the property owner or the owner’s attorney. If a corporation owns the property, the eviction process must be handled by an attorney.
Seven (7)-Day Notice With Cure
If the landlord has a lease agreement and the tenant is in violation of the lease agreement, the landlord may use the seven-day eviction notice with cure.
The following are curable violations:
- keeping unauthorized pets
- having unauthorized guests
- using unauthorized parking spaces
The tenant will have seven days to correct the violation or move out of the property. The tenant may remain in the property if the violation is corrected. Otherwise, if the tenant doesn’t correct the violation, the landlord may file a complaint of eviction with the court based on the original notice of eviction. The actions taken at the courthouse must be handled by the property owner or the owner’s attorney. If a corporation owns the property, the eviction process must be handled by an attorney.
Seven (7)-Day Notice Without Cure
If the landlord has a lease agreement, and the tenant is in serious violation of the lease agreement, the landlord may use the seven-day eviction notice without cure.
Examples of serious violations include the following:
- willful damage, destruction, or misuse of the landlord’s (or another tenant’s) property
- repeated lease violations within a 12-month period
- unreasonable disturbance
The notice of eviction will list the non-compliance and advise the tenant that their rental agreement is terminated and that no more rent will be accepted. If the tenant has not surrendered the property in seven days, the landlord may file for an eviction. The court actions must be handled by the property owner or the owner’s attorney. If a corporation owns the property, the eviction process must be handled by an attorney.
If the landlord does not have a written lease agreement and decides to take possession of the property, the landlord will give the tenants a fifteen-day notice of eviction. Under this type of eviction, the reason for the eviction cannot be for non-payment of rent or any lease violation, and the rent must be paid on a month-to-month basis.
The notice will explain that the rental agreement is terminated and that no rent payments will be accepted. The notice must be given fifteen (15) days before the next rent payment’s due date. If the tenant does not surrender the property, the landlord may file an eviction complaint. The court actions must be handled by the property owner or the owner’s attorney. If a corporation owns the property, the eviction process must be handled by an attorney.
Filing the Eviction Court Case
If the tenants do not surrender the property or pay the rent that is due within the time frame stated in the notice of eviction, the landlord may file a complaint of eviction with the court to have the tenants removed.
Filing and Service Fees
The landlord will be required to pay to the Clerk of the Court a filing fee and a fee for each summons required to be served. Because the cost will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, landlords should check with the Clerk of the Court in their area to find out the fee amount.
Service of Summons
After the Complaint for Eviction is filed, a summons will be prepared and sent to the Sheriff’s Office to serve on the tenant being evicted.
If the Tenant is Served with the Eviction Notice
Once served with an eviction notice from the court, tenants have five (5) working days to respond in writing stating why they do not think they should have to move.
If the tenant responds to the eviction notice with a defense other than payment, the tenant must pay the amount of the rent due to the court and any rents that accrue while the eviction process is pending.
If the tenant surrenders the property within the time required based on the type of summons served, the landlord must notify the Clerk of Court in writing. This will authorize the Clerk of Court to close the case. If the tenant moves while still owing rent and has provided no written defense, a judgment may be entered.
If the tenant provides a written response to the Court and deposits any required rent payment to the registry of the court within the required time frame, an eviction hearing will be scheduled. The Judge will decide whether the tenant must move and, if so, when.
If the tenant does not surrender the property or answer the summons within the required time frame, the landlord is entitled to a default. The landlord must request the Clerk of Court to enter the default by filing a Motion for Default.
The default will be entered, and a proposed final judgment will be forwarded to the judge. Once the judge signs the judgment, the landlord will be entitled to a Writ of Possession. The Sheriff Office of the local jurisdiction will serve the Writ of Possession. Once the Sheriff’s Office receives Writ of Possession and the required service fee from the Clerk of Court, it will be served and, the tenant will have 24 hours to surrender the property.
The process for evicting tenants from mobile homes will be followed as outlined in Florida Statute 723.002/723.061.
How to Write a Notice of Eviction Letter in Florida
The following are examples of the various notice of eviction letters and instructions on how to write them.
- The type of eviction notice should be written at the top of the letter.
- For each of the letters, in the “To” section, write the tenant’s name and property address.
- The “From” section shall include the name of the landlord, property owner, or the owner’s attorney.
- The date will be included in the next section.
- The middle section shall contain the details of the eviction notice, which is contingent upon the type of eviction process being used.
- The signature section contains the signature of the landlord, property owner, or the owner’s attorney, their address, and telephone number.