Florida Eviction Procedures

By Kelly Kaczmarek
apartment balconies image by Christopher Dodge from Fotolia.com

Losing the rights to your property can be a devastating experience--even more difficult to handle when it's due to bad tenants. The Florida state legislature created Landlord-Tenant laws to help the landlord regain rights to the property if necessary.

Three-Day Notice

The most common reason for evictions in Florida is because a tenant does not pay the rent. If the eviction is based on unpaid rent, a notice to vacate within three days can be served. Any other reason for eviction of the tenant requires a seven-day notice.

This notice gives the tenant three (or seven) days to fix the problem before the eviction process begins. According to Section 83.202 of the Florida state Landlord-Tenant law, if the landlord accepts a rent payment within the three-day time frame, she has waived her right to evict.

The landlord can deliver the three-day notice by mail or by hand to the tenant, or post it in an obvious place, before filing an eviction action.

Filing for an Eviction

After the passing of the three-day notice period, if the situation has not changed, the landlord can file a complaint with the clerk of the court indicating the reasons for filing for an eviction. This complaint must be signed and notarized by a notary public.

The document must be copied and distributed to all parties. Attached to each copy of the complaint should be a copy of the three-day notice as well as the rental agreement, if a written copy is available. After the appropriate fees are paid, the clerk of the court files a Residential Summons of Eviction (Access Evictions). The landlord must supply prepaid envelopes to the clerk so the notices may be mailed to each individual involved in the eviction.

After Filing

After filing a complaint with the court, the landlord must wait five business days before the eviction process can proceed. During this period, a tenant may submit an answer to the court contesting the landlord's complaint.

If the tenant does not submit a response within five days, the landlord can request a Motion for Default against the tenant. Upon filing the Motion for Default, the landlord can proceed with requesting a Final Judgment for Possession from the court and have the tenant removed.

If the tenant submits an answer within the specified time frame, the eviction process will go to court. In this procedure, the landlord and the tenant each has the right to defend her viewpoint. Depending on the court's decision, the landlord will either have to start the eviction process over, or will be granted a Final Judgment for Possession and can force the tenant to move.

Forcible Removal

Under Florida Landlord-Tenant law, if the tenant still refuses to vacate after the court hands down its Final Judgment, the landlord can file for a Writ of Possession. This document allows the local Sheriff to physically remove the tenant from the property after giving him 24 hours' notice. The landlord can then reclaim her property immediately.