The eviction process is unpleasant for all involved parties, as the renter may struggle to find suitable housing and the landlord can have difficulty locating a reliable tenant.
Regrettably, the eviction rate in Florida is the second-highest in the nation according to data from AdvisorSmith, meaning you are more likely to have to remove an uncooperative tenant if you are a landlord. While evicting a renter can be challenging, following the appropriate steps can reduce any difficulties.
1. Provide proper notice
The process of eviction commences when you furnish the tenant with the appropriate notice. The State of Florida has different types of notifications depending on the reason you want to remove the tenant.
If the eviction arises due to unpaid rent, you must deliver a 3-day pay or quit notice. In cases of other lease infringements, you have to issue a 7-day notice to cure or quit, but if the violation has no remedy, you may proceed by serving a 7-day notice without the option to cure.
Ensure that the notice is comprehensible to the tenant. You also have the obligation to delineate the rationale behind issuing the notice and afford the tenant the stipulated period to rectify the matter.
2. File a lawsuit
If the tenant does not comply with the notice or refuses to leave, the next step is filing an eviction (or “unlawful detainer”) lawsuit in the county of the property. You will need to prepare the necessary paperwork, including a Complaint for Eviction, and file it with the local court.
3. Serve legal documents
Upon initiating the lawsuit, you must formally notify the tenant by serving them with a summons and a copy of the Complaint. A process server or the sheriff’s office must handle this step; otherwise, you might delay the eviction process.
4. Attend the hearing
Following the service of a summons, the court will proceed to arrange a hearing. You or a representative should attend to present evidence supporting your claim, such as the lease agreement and notices you gave. If the court rules in your favor, it will issue a judgment for possession of the property, which allows you to regain control of your property.
5. Execute the writ of possession
Following the acquisition of a judgment, it becomes necessary to petition the court for a writ of possession. This particular writ grants the sheriff the authority to physically evict any tenants who do not depart of their own accord. Keep in mind that you must allow the tenants a brief grace period to vacate the premises following the enforcement of the writ.
By carefully following these steps, you can navigate the eviction process while respecting tenant rights and the law.