When a tenant signs an agreement with a landlord, he or she essentially pledges to abide by the terms until the lease expires. Failure to do so gives the landlord the right to evict them from their premises.
We here have RE/MAX Infinity Property Management have made this article to help you gain a better understanding of the process.
As a landlord, you may want to evict a tenant for a multitude of reasons. For example:
- Failure to pay the rent due under the lease.
- Refusing to move out after the lease is over. A tenant that does this is known as a ‘holder tenant’.
- Using the property for illegal reasons, such as distributing illegal substances out of the property.
- Disrupting the peace of other tenants. This is especially true in a multi-family property.
- Causing excessive property damage. This can be something like causing significant water damage or knocking holes in the wall.
- Seriously violating the terms of the lease agreement. This may include subletting the property or keeping pets when the lease forbids it.
- Squatting on the property without adverse possession. For more information on squatter’s rights, click here.
What’s the Eviction Process in Florida? Here is a Guide.
To evict a tenant in Florida, a landlord must follow the right process outlined under State law. Under no circumstances should you resort to using “self-help” methods to evict your tenant. This includes doing things like:
- Interfering with your tenant’s use of amenities. For example, by blocking access to the tenant’s reserved parking space.
- Ignoring the tenant’s maintenance requests.
- Slandering or libeling your tenant (spreading false information about your tenant to other tenants).
- Ordering them to leave or threatening them.
- Shutting off utilities, like the phone service, electricity, gas, water, or heat.
- Moving your tenant’s belongings out of their rented home.
- Locking your tenant out of the unit.
Using any of these tactics to force your tenant out is illegal in Florida. If you’re wondering how to evict a tenant quickly,
Notice for Lease Termination with Legal Cause
Florida laws give specific requirements to end a tenancy. You cannot simply evict a tenant for an unjustified reason. Being unaware of the legal grounds for eviction is a common property owner mistake.
There are different types of notices that you must serve and procedures you must follow to bring a tenancy to an end. Serving an eviction notice is the first part of the Flordia eviction process timeline.
When terminating a lease due with a legal cause, the following are notices you can serve your tenant:
- 3-Days’ notice to pay rent or quit: This is the notice you must send a tenant that refuses to pay rent once the due date has passed. It basically gives the tenant 3 days to either pay rent or leave the residence. If the tenant doesn’t do either, then you can move to court to file for their formal removal. (Click here for more information.)
- 7-Days’ notice to cure: This is the type of notice you should serve a tenant who’s committed a lease violation that can be corrected. It basically informs the tenant that they have 7 days to either solve the problem or leave. If the tenant disregards this notice and continues violating the lease, you can file for their removal in court. (Here’s more information.)
- 7-Days’ unconditional quit notice: This one doesn’t give the tenant any chance to cure their lease violation. The only option the tenant has is to leave the premises within 7 days. Again, if they don’t, you can ask the assistance of the court to have them removed. (Click here for more information.)
Notice for Termination Without Cause
Tenancies can either be month-to-month or fixed-term. In the case of a month-to-month, you’ll need to provide your tenant with a 15-days’ written notice. The notice should inform him or her that their tenancy will end in fifteen days, upon which they need to move out.
No notice is required for tenants with a fixed-term lease. In this case, a landlord must simply wait until the lease comes to an end. That’s because a fixed-term lease is usually clear on when a tenancy starts and when it comes to an end. Otherwise, it is considered breaking the lease.
Tenant Defenses for an Eviction in Florida
Some tenants will choose to put up a fight after receiving eviction notices. While the tenant may not necessarily have their eviction quashed, fighting the eviction will usually increase the amount of time they are in that property.
That’s why answering the question “how long does an eviction take in Florida?” isn’t easy. Some tenants will put up more of a fight than others, extending the timeline as much as possible.
Some of the defenses Florida tenants usually have against an eviction include:
- Discrimination by the landlord. Your tenant may allege that you have discriminated them based on the state’s protected classes, which include color, race, national origin, disability, religion, sex, and more.
- Constructive eviction. The tenant may allege that the property they are living in is uninhabitable. Due to this, they have been deprived of the full use and possession of the rental property.
- The eviction is retaliatory. The tenant may state that you are seeking to evict them for exercising their legal right.
- Failure to maintain the property. Your tenant may also state that you have ignored their requests to conduct repairs.
- Serving an improper notice. You must serve the proper notice when evicting a tenant. If you don’t, it will waive your right to evict them and you will have to start all over again.
Attending the Court Hearing
Make sure to carry as much evidence against your tenant as you can. This should include the original lease itself and notices you’ve served, as well as any text or email correspondence.
If the judgement is made in your favor, the judge will order the sheriff to evict the tenant within 24 hours.
Writ of Restitution
Once the judge has made their verdict, you’ll need to obtain a Writ of Restitution as soon as possible. This document tells the U.S. Marshalls Service to schedule the eviction.
If the tenant fails to leave within 24 hours, then U.S. Marshalls Service will be left with no other option than to forcibly evict them.
Evicting a tenant is never an easy thing. You need experience and knowledge of how the Florida eviction process works. If you need help, consider hiring professional services from a qualified Florida attorney.
Disclaimer: This blog isn’t meant to be a substitute for professional legal advice. It’s simply informational. Laws are changed frequently and this article may not be up-to-date when you read it.