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Navigating the Eviction Process in Florida: A Comprehensive Guide

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2023 | Real Estate

If you’re a landlord in Florida, understanding the eviction process is crucial for ensuring a smooth and legal resolution when faced with difficult tenant situations. Let’s delve into the intricacies of the eviction process, outlining the steps involved and shedding light on crucial considerations.

What is The Eviction Process?

The eviction process starts with a three-day notice and ends with a writ of possession. The duration of this process can vary significantly, taking as little as one week for uncontested cases or stretching into years under exceptional circumstances. On average, without valid defenses, an eviction process typically spans about 15 days.

An eviction becomes necessary when a tenant breaches their lease agreement in some way or refuses to vacate after the rental contract has expired. It’s important to note that eviction is distinct from ejectment, which comes into play when no tenancy agreement exists, such as when “guests” overstay their welcome.

Retaining an attorney for eviction proceedings can cost $1,000 for uncontested cases or rise to thousands for contested situations.

Understanding the Eviction Process and Steps:

As Chapter 83 of Florida Statutes outlines, landlords have grounds for eviction based on issues like housecleaning concerns, unauthorized occupancy, or non-payment of rent. To navigate this process efficiently and potentially save on attorney fees, landlords can follow these steps:

  1. Issue a 3-Day Notice: Give the tenant a 3-day notice to pay overdue rent or vacate the premises.
  2. Draft and File an Eviction Complaint: Write a complaint and file for eviction at any county clerk’s office in the respective county. Include details like plaintiff and defendant information, property ownership, rental agreement terms, and eviction reasons.
  3. Create a Comprehensive Complaint: Under the heading “Complaint,” detail the attempt to evict a renter, the landlord’s property ownership, the rental agreement terms, the due date of the last rent, and the date the tenant was served with a notice to vacate or pay. Request the judge to evict the occupant and hold them responsible for costs. Notarize the complaint and file it with the clerk.
  4. Check Tenant Response: Verify if the tenant responds to the summons from the clerk’s office within five working days. Contact the county court to schedule a trial if they answer and pay overdue rent.
  5. Deliver Hearing Notice: Ensure the tenant receives a notice specifying case details, hearing time, date, venue, and the notice date.
  6. File a Motion for Default Judgment: If the tenant fails to respond, file a motion for default judgment with the clerk or the court.
  7. Await Court Judgment: Wait for the county court to issue a judgment. If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, the sheriff will be instructed to execute eviction within 24 hours. The sheriff will serve a summons of possession, mandating the tenant’s vacating. The landlord is responsible for associated costs.

Navigating the eviction process in Florida demands precision and adherence to legal protocols. Landlords should seek legal advice to ensure a seamless process and protect their rights. Remember, each case is unique, and understanding the nuances can make a significant difference in achieving a favorable outcome.

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