Delinquent tenants are one of the biggest problems a landlord can face, and state laws provide the necessary procedures landlords must follow to evict them. To evict a tenant in Florida, you’ll need to start with a written notice and then follow up in court.
There are different kinds of notices for different situations, including notice of termination with cause, and notice of termination without cause.
Reasons to Evict a Florida Tenant
Causes for terminating a tenancy include failure to pay rent, violation of a lease or rental agreement, and illicit activities. Most landlords will evict because a tenant isn’t paying rent. When that happens, the first step is serving a Three Day Notice to Pay or Quit. That essentially gives the tenants three days to catch up with the overdue rent or move out. If those three business days come and go without a rental payment or a vacancy, the landlord can then pursue a legal eviction through the courts.
Other Types of Eviction Notices
While the Three Day Notice is the most common one used by landlords in Florida, it’s important to know what the other notices mean and when they would be required.
- Seven Day Notice to Cure: This type of notice applies in situations where a tenant has violated their lease or rental agreement, and the violation can be corrected, or “cured.” Examples of curable lease violations include having pets in a rental unit where no pets are allowed, failing to keep the rental unit in a clean and sanitary condition, and parking in an unauthorized space. The landlord may file an eviction lawsuit if the tenant fails to correct the violation within seven days.
- Seven Day Unconditional Quit Notice: If a tenant repeats the same lease violation multiple times within a 12-month period, destroys rental property, or creates unreasonable disturbances, a landlord may terminate the tenancy without giving time to correct the violation. The notice simply states that the tenant has seven days to leave the premises, or an eviction lawsuit will be filed.
There are also situations where you can terminate a lease without cause, including month-to-month rental agreements and fixed-term leases. In month-to-month rental agreements, you’ll have to give the tenants a written notice stating that they have 15 days to move out.
If the tenant has a fixed-term lease, you must wait until the end of the lease to terminate the tenancy. However, you do not need to give written notice for the tenant to move out unless the lease requires you to do so.
Following Florida’s Legal Eviction Process
It’s easy to get frustrated when rent isn’t being paid and you just want your tenant out. But, it’s crucial to follow the appropriate laws when evicting a tenant. Failure to do so may make the eviction invalid. Florida law states that a tenant can only be removed if the landlord wins an eviction lawsuit in court. You cannot personally remove a tenant. You cannot change the locks or turn off the utilities. Only a sheriff or other authorized person may remove your tenant after the courts have awarded you possession.
While it’s not complicated to evict a tenant, especially when there is a clear pattern of non-payment, we still recommend that you work with an attorney or a property management company. There are specifics and timelines that must be followed, and one simple mistake can end up costing you more time and money. If you have any questions, please contact us at Florida Property Management Services. We will be more than happy to help.