Attorney Jerron Kelley from the law firm of Kelley and Grant is with us today to talk about the eviction process in Florida.
About Kelley and Grant
Kelley and Grant is a full service real estate law firm. We have a few different practice areas, including title and closing as well as buyer and seller representation. We represent associations and do real estate litigation. Most topically, we do a lot of evictions. Our firm is one of the largest eviction law firms in the state. We do between 200 and 300 evictions a month.
Serving a Three Day Notice
The eviction process begins with serving a proper notice. Most evictions are for nonpayment of rent, and you’ll need to serve a Three Day Notice. This must be served by the landlord or the property manager. Once that notice period expires, you’ll file an eviction in the county court, with the clerk’s office.
Five Day Summons
Next, a Five Day Summons is issued. If it’s a suit for possession, those five days are business days. The landlord must wait five days to see if the tenant will file an answer or a response. If the tenant does not file an answer, you can file a motion for default and wait for the judge to sign the final judgment. If your tenant is still in the property at that point, you will need a Writ of Possession. The sheriff posts a 24-hour-notice on the door to give the tenant an opportunity to move out. After the 24 hours, the sheriff and the property manager or landlord will remove the tenant. If it’s a contested eviction, you follow the same process but there may be delays. The judge could order money to be put in the court registry or may set a hearing date.
Common Eviction Mistakes
Eviction can be a complicated process with a lot of dynamics. Novice property managers and landlords with little legal experience will sometimes make mistakes. The most common mistake is leaving off critical information on a Three Day Notice. They might forget to include the address or a phone number. Sometimes, the wrong address or city is listed. Those issues can cause the eviction to get totally unwound. Even if it goes to final judgment, with a mistake like that, the sheriff won’t serve the Writ. The most common mistake, however, is when a landlord includes late fees and other costs like utility charges in the amount that’s demanded on the Three Day Notice. They aren’t allowed to do so unless they have a good lease that deems those fees are included in the past rent.
Evictions can be very straightforward and fast; most take between three and six weeks. If they are in the right hands, they can be easy to manage. If you are working with the wrong person, the eviction can get dismissed or cost a lot in time and money. If the tenant hires an attorney, the landlord can be liable for attorney fees if the eviction is dismissed. We have seen costs that are over $2,000 and even up to $10,000.
Evictions are not complex, but they should not be taken lightly. You always want to make sure you’re working with a property manager and if necessary, an attorney.
If you have any questions about the eviction process, please contact Kelley Grant Law. You can also contact us at Florida Property Management Services for any help with Fort Lauderdale property management.