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Being a landlord in Florida can be a lucrative business but, at the same time, can have the unpleasant aspect of having to initiate eviction processes. According to Florida law, landlords must take specific steps to accomplish a successful eviction. Once it’s determined that removal is necessary, you will need a legal Florida eviction notice to start the process.
However, there is information a landlord should know when proceeding with an eviction. First, the landlord should know the valid reasons why an eviction can occur and the eviction notices that pertain to each reason. Second, the landlord should know what not to do when evicting a tenant and the legal method of eviction.
Reasons For Eviction
Unfortunately, there are times when evictions are necessary due to the tenants’ actions, whether by unfortunate circumstances or intentionally. For example, breaking the lease terms or failure to pay rent are unnegotiable reasons for evictions, especially if served with an eviction notice and the tenant does not try to rectify the issue or issues.
When The Tenant Fails To Pay Rent
A 3-business-day eviction notice is allowed in the case of the tenant who does not pay the rent. Once this eviction notice is issued, the tenant can pay the whole amount of rent owed and nothing less to resolve the problem and stay in the rented unit. The landlord does not have to accept a partial amount. The landlord will then file an eviction lawsuit if the tenant refuses to leave.
When The Tenant Breaks The Terms Of A Lease
In this case, when a tenant breaks the lease terms, the landlord can issue a 7-calendar-day eviction notice. Violating the lease terms means that, in some way, the tenant did not follow the terms listed in the lease agreement. Examples of this could be:
- Not adhering to the parking terms
- Not following the terms regarding pets
- Disregarding subletting terms
- Damaging property
- Not keeping up with specific cleanliness standards
- Disturbing and disrupting other tenants or the community
Whatever is listed in a leasing agreement that is not being adhered to is a reason to start the eviction process. The landlord will issue the eviction notice that details the issue. The tenant has a chance to resolve the problem, but only once. If the issue appears again in a twelve-month period and a second eviction notice is presented, there is no second chance.
In some cases, the landlord does not even have to give a tenant that one chance if the circumstances are dire. Damaging the property or violating local, state, or federal law, especially if the tenant is using the property for illegal activity, would be enough not to give the tenant a chance at resolution.
How Not To Evict A Tenant
The temptation may occur to try and get the tenant or tenants to want to leave of their own free will by making their living situation uncomfortable. However, this is illegal for landlords to do. Here are methods that are illegal for landlords to do when attempting an eviction:
- Shutting off utilities, such as water or gas
- Taking the tenant’s property from the premises
- Removing doors or windows
- Changing or removing the locks from the tenant’s premises
The Legal Method Of Eviction In Florida
Issuing the eviction notice may be just the first step in the eviction process. If the tenants remain on the property, a complaint with the applicable county court in Florida will have to be filed. Once the complaint is filed, a process server will deliver a copy of the complaint to the tenant. The tenant has five business days to challenge the eviction and send a response to the court clerk and the landlord.
At this point, the battle may be over if the tenant does not contest the eviction. Therefore, the judge will issue a default judgment for a Judgement for Possession. However, if the tenant contests the eviction, the judge will weigh the evidence the tenant presents and make a judgment.
The judge may rule in favor of the landlord and issue a Writ of Possession. Once this occurs, it is the responsibility of the sheriff to post this on the tenant’s premises. The tenant or tenants have 24 hours to leave the property once this is posted. If they still do not go, the sheriff takes possession of the property by forcibly removing the tenants of the property and placing a padlock on the door. Any belongings left by the tenants will not be moved and will be used to recoup any monetary damages that the landlord suffered.
This legal eviction process may take longer and require patience, but legally following this process will achieve the desired result.