A tenant eviction in Florida can take anywhere from a few days if not contested to a few months. While the CDC moratorium on evictions expired in 2021, renters still have the ability to defend themselves.
What is an eviction?
An “eviction” is the act of forcing someone to leave, especially when that location is the individual's home. It is typically a court order that grants a landlord the right to retake possession of the rental property due to nonpayment of rent or a violation of the rental agreement.
Florida eviction laws are strict. A landlord must follow all the steps of the law and go to court to properly evict a tenant.
If you are facing an eviction (as a tenant or landlord), read this first:
Rental assistance is available. Florida is helping tenants pay their rent, late fees, and utility bills.
The federal government originally allocated $46 billion to help relieve the strain of COVID on both landlords and renters. States and counties will provide this assistance to tenants and to landlords on the behalf of the tenants.
OurFlorida has already helped over 201,100 households with $1.09 billion in relief. And they aren't the only funding opportunity!
Before you take another step towards eviction, learn more about Florida's Emergency Rental Program and find relief for both of you!
Eviction proceedings in Florida
Next steps for the tenant
Reach out for help. It’s not just the local and federal government that offers aid. Reach out to the local churches and nonprofits. Here is a list of 24 local organizations that provide emergency funds for paying rent, security deposits, or other housing expenses.
If the eviction is moving forward while you wait for aid or if you’ve been denied aid, there are still options.
An eviction can be challenged if there is an error in the eviction notice, if discrimination is evident, if proper notice wasn't given, or if the property owner did not maintain the rental unit. These common defenses can prolong the eviction process, giving the renter the amount of time they need to get their affairs in order.
However, Florida is considered a landlord-friendly state meaning the courts tend to lean toward the favor of the landlord.
Often renters walk into a courtroom for nonpayment of rent thinking the judge will have compassion on their story. The judge is there to follow the laws and rule on the side that best presents the law. As a renter facing eviction, it is vital that you have a valid defense in place. If you are currently facing an eviction, seek legal advice from a Florida eviction attorney.
Evictions are on the rise in Florida. According to Eviction Labs there are hotspots in every city. 100 buildings in Tampa are responsible for 34.1% of evictions.
The state of Florida requires the following to take place before an eviction occurs:
The tenant receives a written notice to move out
The tenant is served with legal paperwork – a summons and complaint delivered by a sheriff or other authorized process server.
The tenant is provided time to respond
The court can grant or deny the eviction
A Writ of Possession is posted if the court grants the eviction
What landlords can’t do during the eviction process because it's illegal:
Shut off your utilities (water, gas, electric)
Change or remove the locks on your home
Remove doors or windows
Take your property from your home
In Florida, landlords who attempt to force you out with illegal moves like the ones above may have to pay your rent for up to 3 months and your attorney fees. To be awarded damages from the landlord's actions, you will have to take legal action.
The Florida eviction process requires proper notice, documentation, and a legal reason before final judgment. There are different types of notices to begin the eviction process.
Three-Day Notice of Eviction
Non-payment of rent is grounds for eviction, even one day late.
Florida landlords have the legal right to begin an eviction one day after rent is due. The tenant is given a three-day eviction notice.
If the rent due is paid in full, the tenant can stay. However if the renter chooses not to pay, they must leave within those three business days. If the tenant does not pay the past due rent or vacate the property, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (see Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83-56(5))
If a lease violation is discovered, the landlord can issue a seven-day default notice. If the renter doesn't fix the issue within that time frame, the landlord can file a lawsuit.
If it is discovered that the renter is a repeat violator of a lease agreement (e.g. purposefully destroying property, unauthorized pet, allowing someone not on the lease to live there, or unreasonable disturbances), the property manager can serve a seven-day unconditional quit notice. The renter will not have the opportunity to "fix" the problem.
This type of notice is only used when the situation can't be solved through other means, and the tenant's actions did not change or resolve the situation when previously brought to their attention. Florida law permits landlords to issue this notice at any time.
For more detailed information regarding Florida evictions visit Florida Law Help.
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