Florida Eviction Law on Sublets

By Kiran Bharthapudi

Under Florida law, an oral or written agreement between the tenant and subtenant often determines the eviction process. Primary tenants have the first responsibility and privilege to evict a subtenant. However, if a primary tenant fails or refuses to evict the subtenant, the landlord can formally begin proceedings to evict the sub-lessee. Evictions may be forced for a number of reasons. For instance, nonpayment of rent or criminal activity can be deemed sufficient reasons for evictions in a court of law.

Sublet Clause

A Florida landlord has the right to disallow a primary tenant from subleasing the property to another person, unless subletting has been specifically agreed upon in the original lease contract. In most cases, the primary tenant and subtenant will have an oral or written sublease agreement, and therefore a landlord should first request the tenant to evict the subtenant. If the lessee cannot or will not evict the sub-lessee, the landlord can then begin formal proceedings to evict the sub-lessee.

Notices

Florida law requires a landlord serve notices asking a tenant or subtenant to vacate the property. Notices deemed "proper" under the law are required before a landlord can file an eviction suit in court. Notices should clearly state the reasons a tenant or a subtenant should vacate the place. Wording on the notices often is critical, and a landlord should seek legal advice before serving a termination notice.

A lease or a sublease agreement often guides you on how to serve a notice. Notices are served to occupants in one of three ways: via mail, handing it in person to a tenant or a subtenant, or posting the notice on the door of the property.

Three Day Notice

Three-day notice, under Florida law, should only be served if the subtenant had failed to pay the rent. The notice is typically served at least 15 days past the rent due date, and it tells the subtenant to either pay the rent within three days or vacate the premises within three days. If a subtenant manages to pay the rent in full within the next three days, the landlord cannot press legal charges for eviction.

Eviction Complaint

Eviction is a formal lawsuit. An attorney typically files the suit in court on behalf of the landlord. If a landlord directly files an eviction lawsuit, he should then represent himself in court, if required. Property managers can file evictions on behalf of a landlord, only if nonpayment of rent is the reason for eviction charges. Property or building managers should have a written permission from a landlord for filing an eviction suit.

Eviction Proceedings

Most eviction complaints in Florida do not receive a trial or a formal hearing. Once a landlord files an eviction suit, the tenant or subtenant is then given an opportunity to file an answer in response to the suit. In that answer, the occupant can list the reasons why the eviction should not occur. If the tenant or subtenant fails to file an answer in court or fails to sufficiently defend himself against eviction, a "default judgement" is made and court orders are sent asking for the occupant to vacate the property.

About the Author

Kiran Bharthapudi has more than seven years of experience in print, broadcast and new media journalism. He has contributed to several major news agencies, including United Nations radio, BBC online and "Consumer Reports" magazine. His articles specialize in the areas of business, technology and new media. He has a Ph.D. in mass communications.

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