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Landlord & Tenant Law in Florida, Real Estate Law

Eviction of a Tenant


Eviction is a last resort and is not only warranted for not paying the rent. Only tenant’s can be evicted. You cannot evict your Wife, mother-in-law, son, daughter or anyone living on your property who is NOT a tenant (whether or not the lease is written or oral). In order to remove a person other than a tenant, you must “eject” them and that is another matter entirely. Evictions are handled, for the most part, by the County Court Division and the Court is required to “advance” the matter on its docket. So, evictions move very fast in the system. The time to answer a complaint for an eviction is only five days from the time you are served with the complaint and the complaint can, under certain circumstances, be taped to your door.

If the Tenant Does Not Comply With the Lease:

The Tenant can be evicted for not living up to the agreement. The process of removal depends on the breach. (Section 83.56(2), F.S).

Failure to Meet Obligations:

Except for the failure to pay rent, a landlord must notify you in writing of any shortcomings and give you seven days in which to correct the situation. If you still have not complied after seven days, the landlord can begin the eviction process based on non-compliance.

Other Evictions:

Under certain circumstances, if you have exhibited a lack of consideration for the rights and privacy of others, a landlord has the right to require you to move with very little notice. (Section 83.56(2)(a), F.S.)

In some cases (destruction, damage, misuse of property, unreasonable disturbances), the landlord does not have to give you an opportunity to remedy the problem and may terminate tenancy by giving you a seven-day written notice.

Each eviction case is unique, so be sure to obtain legal advice. A landlord MAY NOT evict you solely in retaliation for the tenant complaining to a governmental agency about code violations or asserting other tenant rights.

Non-Payment of Rent:

The landlord must serve the tenant a written notice allowing three days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) to pay the rent or move from the premises. If the tenant does not pay the rent or move, the landlord may begin legal action to evict the tenant.

In order for the landlord to gain payment of rent or possession of the dwelling, they must file suit in county court. The tenant then has five days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) to respond – also in writing – to the court. If the tenant does not respond or a judgment is entered against the tenant, the clerk of the county court will issue a “Writ of Possession” to the sheriff who will notify the tenant that eviction will take place in 24 hours.

Termination of tenancy without a specific term – days of written notice required (prior to termination): (Section 83.57, F.S.)

Weekly ——— 7 days
Monthly ——– 15 days
Quarterly ——- 30 days
Yearly ———- 60 days

Florida Law does not allow a landlord to force a tenant out by:

Shutting off the utilities or interrupting service, even if that service is under the control of or the landlord makes payment;
Changing the locks or using a device that denies the tenant access;
Removing the outside doors, locks, roof, walls or windows (except for purposes of maintenance, repair or replacement); and/or
Removing the tenant’s personal property from the dwelling unless action is taken after surrender, abandonment, recovery of possession of the dwelling unit due to the death of the last remaining tenant in accordance with section 83.59(3)(d), or lawful eviction.
If any of these occur, the tenant may sue for actual and consequential damages or three months’ rent, whichever is greater, plus court costs and attorney’s fees. (Section 83.67, F.S.)

If you find yourself in such a position it is best to consult an attorney with substantial experience. There are so many different circumstances that a proper answer to your particular problem can only be obtained by a trained and experienced lawyer.

If you have any question regarding this or any other legal matter our firm may be able to help you. Please contact Jupiter Legal Advocates at (561) 748-8000 or email us at for further information and assistance. We try our very best to respond immediately.

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Attorney William A. Fleck