321. How To Evict a Tenant in Florida
Evicting a tenant that will not pay rent can be a frustrating process. There are many rules and regulations which govern this area of the law. Knowing exactly how to proceed with an eviction can mean the difference between gaining access to the property or allowing a non-paying tenant to stay. Below are the steps which must be taken in order to properly evict a tenant in the state of Florida.
Create and Serve a 3-Day Notice
The first step in the process is to draft a 3-Day Notice for the tenant. This notice should be short, but demand that the tenant make a choice within the next three days. They can either pay the rent that is due or be prepared to go to court for a formal eviction process. The 3-Day Notice served to the tenant does not include Saturday, Sunday or holidays.
Make a Formal Complaint
If the tenant fails to comply with the 3-Day Notice, more action must be taken to evict. The next step is to file a formal eviction complaint with the clerk of court. You will need to show the 3-Day Notice that was given to the non-paying tenant along with a copy of the lease. The clerk will require a fee in order to evict the tenant. Once this information is provided to the clerk, a complaint will be filed with the court.
Issue a Summons to Court
Once the complaint has been filed, the clerk will issue a summons to the tenant. This is served by the sheriffs department and will alert the tenant to the fact that an eviction complaint has been filed with the clerk of court. This summons is served to the tenant or posted on the premises. The clerk will serve the tenant with the complaint, a copy of the 3-Day Notice that was given to the tenant as well as a copy of the lease.
Wait For the Response
After the summons is posted on the premises or personally served to the tenant, they will have five (5) days to respond to the eviction complaint. This five days not include Saturday, Sunday or holidays. If the tenant responds to the complaint, then the landlord must set a date for the hearing. Once the date has been set, the landlord and tenant will both appear before the court to make their case.
Finish the Process
After the hearing, or once five days have passed without word from the tenant, a judgment will be given by the court. The judgment is most often in favor of the property owner. The court creates and gives a notice to the tenant, giving the tenant notice to vacate the premises. This notice is also served by the sheriffs department and gives the tenant twenty four hours to leave on their own. If they will still not leave after another twenty four hours has passed, the sheriff will come out and force them to go. The twenty four hours does not include Saturday, Sunday or holidays.
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