Evictions

When a landlord wishes to terminate a tenant’s lease for some type of breach, he must file an eviction in the County Court. Most residential evictions are due to failure to pay rent or causing some type of damage to the property being rented. Landlords are not entitled to simply change the locks on the door and throw a tenant’s belongings to the side of the road. He must follow the requirements set forth in Florida Statute 83.56 to terminate the tenancy.

Eviction – Non-Payment of Rent

If the basis for the eviction is non-payment of rent, the landlord is required to give the tenant a Three Day Notice of intent to terminate the tenancy. The tenant must pay the full amount of the rent within those three days or move out of the premises. If the tenant offers a partial payment of the rent and the landlord accepts it, the landlord can still file an eviction at a later date so long as he follows the rules set forth in the statute with regard to accepting partial payments of rent.

An experienced landlord/tenant attorney can help advise you whether the law has been followed. If the tenant fails to pay the rent (or pays partial rent and the statutory requirements are not met), the landlord may file an eviction after the three days have passed. The eviction is filed in County Court as a Complaint (lawsuit) seeking removal of the tenant from the premises. The tenant then has five days to respond to the Complaint and to place the full amount of rent into the registry of the court, unless the amount of rent is disputed, in which case an appropriate motion to determine the amount of rent must be filed. If the tenant fails to respond in the manner indicated above, the Court may issue an automatic Default Final Judgment of Eviction against the tenant without the benefit of a hearing.

Be aware that if the landlord is seeking monetary damages, not simply removal of the tenant, a second count to the Complaint for Damages must be filed along with the Complaint for Eviction. This Complaint is not subject to the summary proceedings described above (i.e. five days to respond to the Complaint). The tenant will have twenty days to answer this Complaint in order to defend against the claim of damages, which in most cases will involve the rent owed. If the Answer (response to the lawsuit) is not done correctly, the party being evicted may waive important defenses or the Answer may be dismissed. The same fact is true with regard to the Complaint for Eviction and Damages. That is why it is important to contact an experienced landlord/tenant attorney to discuss your rights and possible defenses to an Eviction Complaint, whether it is removal, or removal and monetary damages.

If a Default Final Judgment of Eviction is signed by a judge, the Writ of Possession will be sent to the Sheriff along with the landlord’s check and the Sheriff may enforce the Eviction by forcefully removing the tenant from the Property after posting a 24 hour notice. If the tenant Answers the Complaint correctly, the case will be set to a hearing, at which time your case may be resolved, or further court dates may be set, including a possible trial. The length of time for an Eviction to be completed can range from approximately two weeks to several months, depending on the response of the tenant and issues involved.

To make sure your case is taken care of as quickly as possible, contact us today to discuss your case.

Eviction – Material Breach of Lease

When a landlord or tenant breaches the terms of a written lease, the lease may be terminated. This means the landlord can evict the tenant, or the tenant can move out without being held responsible for the remainder of the outstanding amount owed.

However, the correct procedure must be followed or else the parties will be in breach of the lease and lose the benefit of succeeding in a subsequent eviction claim. An experienced landlord/tenant attorney can help advise you whether the law has been followed.

First of all, the landlord (or tenant) required to provide a Seven Day Notice to the opposing party, explaining what the violation of the lease is according to Florida Statute 83.56 . The Seven Day Notice can be for a violation that can be fixed, or a violation that cannot be fixed. If the violation can be fixed and notice is provided in the correct form, the party will have seven days to correct the breach of lease or move out. If the landlord is at fault, he must correct the breach. If he fails to do so, the tenant may withhold rent amount in proportion to the loss in rental value.

If a Default Final Judgment of Eviction is signed by a judge, the Writ of Possession will be sent to the Sheriff along with the landlord’s check and the Sheriff may enforce the Eviction by forcefully removing the tenant from the Property after posting a 24 hour notice. If the tenant Answers the Complaint correctly, the case will be set to a hearing, at which time your case may be resolved, or further court dates may be set, including a possible trial. The length of time for an Eviction to be completed can range from approximately two weeks to several months, depending on the response of the tenant and issues involved.

To make sure your case is taken care of as quickly as possible, contact us today for an evaluation of your case.