Every landlord has dealt with their own share of bad tenants. Maybe they’re a bit too loud, or they have visitors that start up some trouble. When it gets too much, it’s time to evict.
The Florida eviction process has been established to protect tenants, but that doesn’t mean it’s at the expense of the landlord. If someone violates the terms of a rental agreement, then that can lead to the termination of said agreement.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to evict a tenant in Florida and when you can start the process.
The eviction process in Florida can start for a number of different reasons. Strictly speaking, the term eviction refers to the action of forcing someone out of a property. It’s a legal proceeding that requires a court’s input.
According to state law, a lease is created at the start of a tenancy for a duration tied to when a payment is due. If a tenant pays a landlord weekly, then their tenancy is week to week.
A landlord that wants to terminate a tenancy must give a party ample notice. For example, a year-long lease requires a notice three months prior to ending the lease. A month-to-month lease requires 15 days notice prior to the end of the month.
The eviction process comes into play when a tenant breaks the terms of their lease.
How easily a landlord can clear out a property depends on the type of lease they’ve signed.
A fixed-term lease works over a longer period of time, which means a landlord needs ample cause to start the eviction process. A month-to-month lease gives the landlord more immediate control since they can always wait until the end of the month and refuse to renew a person’s lease.
It should be stated in a renter’s lease whether or not they’re allowed to sublet their apartment. Subletting puts a tenant at increased risk, as a landlord can choose to terminate their lease over the actions of a subletter.
Cause for Eviction
Before starting the process, a landlord needs to determine whether or not they have grounds for eviction in Florida. After all, attempted termination of tenancy may result in a lengthy legal battle.
Reach out to a tenant first if they haven’t paid their rent. If they don’t provide a satisfactory reason or pay their rent in a few days after a notice is sent, you can proceed with the eviction.
You may also consider an eviction if a tenant makes changes to the property without your approval. It all depends on how extensive the changes were and if they can be easily reversed by the tenant before their lease ends.
Another valid reason for eviction is if a tenant uses the property for illegal purposes. This can include operating a business out of the home without permission or selling illegal substances.
Always make sure to state in the lease exactly what the tenant can and can’t do with your property.
Eviction vs. Notice for Termination
Although eviction is one way to force a tenant out, it’s not the only way to empty a property. A notice of termination is often the first step in the eviction process, but it can also be given without cause.
An eviction cannot be started without cause. The tenant must have violated the terms of their lease or committed some kind of crime for the court to approve the eviction.
In this case, the landlord would first deliver a notice of termination. If the tenant disagrees with the termination and decides to stay on the property anyway, the landlord would then have to move forward with an eviction.
The eviction process in Florida with no lease signed is much easier, as you simply need to serve the tenant an official notice to quit. You don’t need to proceed to court as long as you give them time to vacate.
A property owner may want to empty out a property to sell or renovate it. They may also simply want to open up the home for a different type of tenant.
In that case, they can deliver a notice of termination telling the current tenant that they have no intention of renewing their lease. It’s not legal for a landlord to kick someone out without reason. As such, they must let the lease run its course to completion.
Property owners should keep in mind potential defenses a tenant may use during the eviction proceedings.
A landlord must provide proper notice of the eviction. If not, then the eviction is considered unlawful.
Landlords should also be aware of the three-day grace period for rent payment. A tenant has three days within missing a payment to repay it before they can get evicted. They’re fine as long as they pay within that time period.
Under Florida 83.51, landlords must also repair or maintain their rental property even if they don’t live there. As such, a tenant may earn reduced rent if a landlord hasn’t maintained the property as is legally required.
How to Remove a Tenant
Some tenants may prove abusive or dangerous. Keep documentation of all the complaints made against them as well as any warning notices you’ve personally sent. If the situation is forced into a legal matter, you’ll have all the evidence you need.
Once an individual has been evicted, the court usually gives them a week or so to move out. A landlord has the right to hire a sheriff or marshal to forcibly evict them after that time limit.
Get Help Navigating the Florida Eviction Process
No landlord wants to deal with a problematic tenant or the eviction process. However, taking them to court may be the only way to get them out of your hair.
When that happens, you’ll need all the help you can get.
Litigation Advocates are the go-to legal resource for successful retail landlords. We focus on solving problems such as evictions, collections, and other lease matters. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you maintain control of your property.