Florida eviction law is contained in Chapter 83 of Florida's statutes. A landlord wishing to evict her tenant from a Florida residence must follow all of the statute requirements to receive an order of eviction. The basic eviction lawsuit in Florida covers only possession of the rental property, not rent owed or damages incurred.
In Florida, you must have a specific cause to terminate a lease before the end of the lease term. Allowable termination reasons in Florida include failure to pay rent, failure to follow lease terms, destruction of property, ignoring the privacy of other residents, or using the property for illegal activity. Evicting a tenant in retaliation in a landlord-tenant dispute, or for discriminatory reasons is illegal.
The Florida eviction process starts with a written notice created and served by the landlord. This precedes any court documentation for the eviction process. The landlord must use this notice to terminate the lease agreement. Florida has a three-day notice for nonpayment of rent and a seven-day notice for lease violations. For nonpayment of rent and lease violations, the landlord must include in the notice the method to fix the problem and reinstate the lease. Destruction and disruption terminations do not have to have a method to fix.
Once the termination notice period is up, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit in the local court for that jurisdiction. The landlord must provide copies of the termination notice and lease agreement to the Clerk of Courts and complete eviction paperwork, which includes the complaint and summons form. The sheriff or a private process server will then give the summons to the tenant.
The eviction then proceeds to a hearing if the tenant answers the summons. The landlord and tenant provide the court with their arguments, and the court will provide a judgment or schedule an additional hearing date. If the tenant does not answer the summons, a default judgment is filed against the tenant.
Once the landlord has an eviction judgment, the landlord pays the sheriff to serve the tenant with the Writ of Possession, also known as the eviction judgment. If the tenant does not leave the property after 24 hours from receiving that notice, the sheriff will remove the tenant.
The landlord cannot take any action toward evicting the tenant, such as harassment or changing the locks. This action is prohibited under Section 83.67, F.S. of the Florida landlord and tenant laws. The landlord opens himself up to being sued for damages by the tenant if he takes this course of action.