A Guide to the Eviction Process in Tampa, Florida

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As a landlord, you have to be very familiar with the laws associated when renting a property. The landlord-tenant law covers everything you need to know, including security deposit laws, breaking a lease in Florida, and the eviction process, which we’ll cover today.

Evicting a tenant is a challenging process. Unfortunately, landlords sometimes go through the eviction process to protect their property. While many factors go into evicting a tenant, understanding how the eviction process works in Florida can help you take matters into your own hands if needed. 

By arming yourself with information and taking proactive steps at every stage of the game, you’ll have a better chance of successfully resolving any disputes with tenants before they escalate further. In this blog post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the Florida eviction process and provide helpful advice. 

What’s the Eviction Process in Florida? 

The eviction process in Florida outlines specific steps a landlord must take to end a tenant’s lease agreement. If a tenant fails to meet the terms of their lease agreement, such as failing to pay rent or violating other provisions of the contract, then the landlord may begin the eviction process. Follow these steps to proceed with your eviction process:

Serving an Eviction Notices in Florida

The first step is to serve the tenant with a notice to vacate or quit the property. This legal document is served by either personal service (hand-delivery) or constructive service (posting on the property). 

The notice must include all applicable information, such as the amount of rent due, the violation committed, and a deadline for when the tenant must vacate the property. There are different types of notices depending on the situation:

letter and envelope sitting on desk

Filing an Eviction Lawsuit in Florida

If the tenant fails to comply with the given notice, the landlord may file an eviction lawsuit with the court. A process server or sheriff will serve the complaint and summon the tenant. The summon includes instructions for how to answer the eviction complaint and when and where to appear in court for the hearing.

Eviction Hearing in Florida

At the hearing, the landlord and tenant present their evidence and arguments to the judge. The judge will then make a final decision based on the evidence presented. If the landlord is successful, they can obtain a writ of possession that permits them to evict the tenant, and the tenant may be held liable for costs associated with the eviction process.

Writ of Possession in Florida

Once the landlord has obtained a writ of possession, they may send the document and any other necessary paperwork to the sheriff’s office. The sheriff will then serve a notice to vacate the tenant and give them 24 hours to vacate the property. If the tenant fails to comply, then the sheriff can forcibly remove them from the premises. 

Returning of the Property in Florida

Finally, once the tenant vacates the property, they must return all keys and any other rental property to the landlord. This will help avoid further legal action against them. As state law outlines, the landlord must also ensure that security deposits are appropriately returned.

couch in living room

Notice for Lease Termination with Legal Cause

If tenants breach their rental agreement, the landlord has the legal right to evict them. This can include failure to pay rent on time or causing damage to property not covered by the security deposit. 

In such cases, the landlord must give the tenant a written notice of the legal cause for eviction. The reason for the lease termination determines the type of eviction notice used. Generally, there are four types of eviction notices given in Florida, including:

3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit

This notice is served if the tenant pays late rent (full or partial). The tenant has only three days to pay the total rent or vacate the property.

15-Day Notice to Quit

This notice is served if the tenancy is month to month and the tenant has violated lease terms. The tenant has fifteen days to vacate the property, or the landlord can proceed with filing for eviction.

7-Day Notice to Cure or Vacate

This notice is served if the tenant has violated a term of the lease agreement and the issue can be fixed. The tenant has a maximum of seven days to fix the issue or vacate the property.

7-Day Unconditional Quit Notice

This notice is served if the tenant regularly violates a lease agreement term. The tenant has seven days (without any other option) to vacate the property, or the landlord may proceed with filing for eviction.

moving boxes sitting on table

Notice for Lease Termination Without Legal Cause

In some cases, a landlord may terminate a tenant’s lease without giving them a legal cause. This is often referred to as “no-fault” eviction and can include situations where the landlord wants to move into the property or make renovations that require tenants to vacate. 

However, it’s vital that the landlord must provide the tenant with a written notice informing them of their right to remain in the property until the end of the lease period (or longer, depending on state law).

Tenant Eviction Defenses in Florida

When facing an eviction lawsuit in Florida, a tenant may use several defenses to challenge the eviction, including:

Improper Service

Under Florida Statutes, the landlord must serve the tenant with a legal eviction notice. If the process server did not follow proper service or if the notice was improperly served, then this defense can be used to challenge an eviction.

Landlord Harassment

The landlord is prohibited from harassing the tenant or engaging in other unfair practices. If the landlord is found to have violated this rule, then the eviction may be challenged.

Lack of Proper Notice

This gives the tenant proper notice before filing for an eviction. This includes sending a written notice that specifies why the tenant must leave and giving the tenant time to pay the rent or remedy the lease violation. 

person writing legal document

Landlord Violated Lease Terms

The tenant has a right to challenge an eviction based on the landlord’s failure to abide by their lease terms including any promise of repairs that were not completed.

Bottom Line

Landlords in Florida must adhere to the state’s rental laws when evicting tenants. It is important for landlords to know and follow the correct procedure for writing a legal eviction notice and properly filing an eviction lawsuit with the court. 

If you need assistance with a tenant eviction, contact Out Fast Property Management. With our help, you can ensure that your rights are protected throughout the eviction process.

This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs. 

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