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How to Evict a Florida Tenant

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Do you have a tenant who never pays his rent on time or is damaging your property? Perhaps you have a roommate who does not help pay expenses or is involved in illegal activity?

If so, then it's time to protect your rights and evict because no landlord should have to put up with a nightmare tenant.

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The Florida Eviction Process

In the state of Florida, formally evicting someone involves several basic steps.

Give the Tenant a Formal Eviction Notice

When you are ready to evict, start with a formal written notice. Place it on the tenant's door and send it via certified mail with proof of receipt.

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Generally this notice must include:

1.The date of the notice

2. The offense committed by the tenant

3. The timeframe in which the tenant must remedy the problem (pay the back rent, get rid of the dog, cease the criminal activity, etc.). This is usually within three to 10 days from the day you post the eviction notice.

4. The landlord's signature

In Florida, there are three basic notices, depending on the reason for the eviction:

1. Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit: If the tenant fails to pay rent, then the landlord can give the tenant a three day notice to pay rent or quit.

2. Seven Day Notice to Cure: If the tenant violates the lease but can correct the violation, then the landlord can give the tenant a seven day notice to cure.

3. Seven Day Unconditional Quit Notice: If the tenant intentionally destroys the rental property, then the landlord can give the tenant an unconditional quit notice and terminate the tenancy at the end of a seven-day period without giving the tenant time to fix or cure a violation.

Sometimes one of the first notices is all it takes to make a bad renter decide to pack up and go. Or your renter might fix the stated problem within the given timeframe, saving you both the hassle of an eviction proceeding.

File with the Court

If, however, your renter does not fix the problem and still refuses to vacate, or if you have given your tenant a Seven Day Unconditional Quit Notice, then you must file for eviction with your county court. This involves filling out some paperwork and paying a fee. The court has the needed forms or can direct you to where they are online.

The court then sets a hearing date and sends you and your tenant a summons to appear.

Appear in Court

Make sure you gather all relevant documents - a copy of the lease, any bounced checks, the eviction notice and proof of receipt, any text, email or written communications, etc. - and bring them to court with you.

You want as much documentation as possible to support your case.

There is always a chance that your tenant will not show up for the court date. If that happens, then the court will enter an eviction judgement in your favor.

If your renter does appear and the hearing proceeds, tell the judge why your tenant should be evicted. Stay calm and present a clear, reasoned argument. Be prepared to rebut whatever your tenant might claim.

If the court sides with you and issues an eviction order, then your tenant has a set number of days, usually between two and seven, to vacate your property.

Call the Sheriff

If your tenant still refuses to leave, then you can call the sheriff. He will forcibly remove your renter and all of his or her belongings from the home.

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Some Things to Keep in Mind

Evicting someone through the Florida courts is how most landlords handle a bad tenant, but the formal eviction process can be somewhat tricky.

As the person doing the evicting, you must closely follow state and local laws. Failing to do so can lead to a nightmare worse than just having an awful tenant.

For example, while you might think that you have legitimate grounds for wanting your renter gone, your renter might think he has legitimate grounds for staying and file a counter claim to your eviction notice.

renters rights

He might argue that you have not provided a habitable home, are evicting him in retaliation or that you are discriminating against him based on his sex, national origin, familial status, race, ancestry, disability, sexual orientation, color, creed or marital status, violating both state and federal fair housing laws.

The bottom line is that a tenant can defend his right to stay in his home, and many do. When this happens, the eviction process can quickly become messy and expensive.

Contact Us for Help!

If you cannot get rid of your renter on your own and need legal, then it is time to talk to a law professional.

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