Evicting someone who lives with you in Florida, whether a roommate or a houseguest, requires you to obtain a court order of eviction. You must prove to the court that the person living with you violated a tenant responsibility. Before obtaining a court order of eviction to remove the tenant and their possessions from the property, you must give the tenant notice of the violation and time to remedy the problem.
Who You Can Evict
If you're a property owner with a guest, such as a friend or a relative, who you've allowed to stay in your home for a certain amount of time or even an undefined amount of time, they are likely protected by Florida landlord-tenant laws much the same as tenants with leases. Making a written or oral agreement with someone to pay rent, share household bills or contribute household goods in exchange for housing can create a tenancy that is subject to Florida landlord-tenant laws.
If you're not the property owner, but you have a co-tenant, you may be able to evict that person regardless of whether you have a lease or a sublease agreement. In such a case, your ability to evict the person living with you may be prevented by the landlord's right to evict both of you because one of you violated your tenant responsibilities.
Note the Notice Requirements
The amount of notice to vacate you need to give to a person who lives with you ranges from three to 60 days. Unless you have an agreement that allows for more time, follow these guidelines when telling someone to vacate:
- three days' notice if eviction due to unpaid rent
- seven days' notice for a week-to-week rental
- 15 days' notice for a month-to-month agreement when there is no lease or the termination date is undefined
- 60 days if the lease requires the tenant to give the landlord 60 days' notice before leaving
If your lease requires a tenant to notify you 60 days before the lease expires that they will move at the end of the lease period, you also owe 60 days' notice if you don't plan to renew the lease. The notice must be in writing. You should deliver it personally, but may post it at the door if they are not present. Notice time limits exclude Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays. Download a Notice for Failure to Pay Rent or a Notice of Noncompliance for matters other than not paying rent from the Florida Bar's website.
Filing a Complaint for Eviction
Once the notice time limits have elapsed, and the tenant has ignored or otherwise failed to comply with paying rent or vacating, you must file a complaint for eviction with the court clerk. There are three different types of complaints you can file depending on the reasons for eviction, all of which you can find on the Florida Bar's website. Submit the complaint to the court clerk along with a copy of the notice that you gave to the tenant. Sign the complaint in front of the court clerk or have your signature notarized. The tenant has five days to answer the complaint. Filing fees for an eviction complaint vary – the fee for filing in a county court could be $180, and the fee for filing in a civil court could be $400.
Serving the Summons
You must serve the person who lives with you a summons to appear in court. Obtain the summons from the court clerk after you file the complaint and pay the required fee. Either the sheriff or a private process server can issue the summons package to the tenant. The package includes copies of the complaint, the notice and a lease, if one exists. The fee to serve a summons ranges from $10 to $40, depending on the entity that serves it. Once served, the tenant has five days to answer the summons.
Get the Writ of Possession
If the tenant answers your complaint within the five-day time limit, schedule a hearing and appear in court before a judge to plead your case for the eviction. If the tenant doesn't respond, you can file a Motion for Default and obtain a final judgment to evict. The Writ of Possession is the official form that gives you possession of the dwelling. It must be enforced by the sheriff. The fee varies, but is usually about $100. Your name and telephone number must be on the writ, and you can obtain possession 24 hours after the sheriff posts the writ at the dwelling.