You are not alone whether you are a landlord or a tenant in Florida, whether it’s a condominium, an apartment, or a house. It’s a pleasure for many of us to sign our first lease. But that fantasy may rapidly become a nightmare if there is a disagreement between the tenant and the landlord. The same is true for every other violation of a contract, whether it involves two people or organizations.
Eviction issues are not just limited to disagreements. There are issues about non-payments and changes in the law especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic that still impacts tenants and landlords today.
Marrero, Serrano, Farah Law LP is committed to helping clients resolve their landlord-tenant conflicts swiftly and effectively as eviction lawyers in Florida. Your chances of getting a favorable result might be significantly increased by hiring an eviction lawyer at Marrero, Serrano, Farah Law LP.
Is eviction that easy in Florida?
Landlords in Florida are legally permitted to evict tenants from their rental properties following Fla. Stat. 83.40 et. Seq. Below, the general eviction procedure will be described. There are several legal grounds on which landlords may force tenants to leave their properties. The different ways through which Florida landlords can remove tenants include:
- Non-Payment of rent by the tenant
- Non-Payment of rent by the tenant violated the terms of their lease by, for example, keeping a cat inside their apartment despite the strict no-pets clause.
- The tenant also failed to keep their apartment up to the minimal standards required by Florida law as provided in Statute 83.52.
Important information for Landlords
Landlords must understand that Florida forbids landlords from using popular forms of “self-help” to force their unpaid or problematic tenants out of their properties. Among them are, but not restricted to:
- Removing the doors from the tenant’s apartment
- Locking the tenant out of their apartment by replacing the locks
- Tampering with a tenant’s services, such as by turning off the main water supply valve or using other measures
Tenants may file lawsuits against landlords who engage in any of the aforementioned or related conduct for monetary damages or for statutory damages of up to three times their rent. Tenants who succeed may also bring a claim for their legal costs. The attorney may potentially file a lawsuit to recoup their costs if they were retained on a contingency basis. This option can be discussed with our law firm during consultation.
What is the general procedure for eviction in Florida?
In Florida, the landlord must provide tenants with written notice before the eviction may take place. This can be done in person, by mail, or by posting the notice in a prominent location (ex. Front door). A signed copy of this notice must be retained by the landlord as proof.
- Eviction Lawsuit
The landlord may then file an eviction action in the appropriate county court if the tenant stays on the property beyond the notification period. Using the e-filing platform provided by Florida Courts makes this process simple. The names of the landlord and tenants, the address of the rental home, the grounds for the eviction, and the dates that any Florida eviction notices were issued should all be included in this complaint.
It is then delivered to a process server or the county sheriff, who will serve each tenant, after being notarized.
The tenant can dispute the allegation after receiving the summons and complaint. This reply must be submitted in writing within five days. It might take longer to evict a tenant if they defend the allegation. The court may dismiss the eviction lawsuit if they conclude that the tenant has a good reason why the landlord shouldn’t evict them (such as the tenant fixing a fixable problem or the landlord making false claims). The eviction will proceed with the following procedures if the tenant doesn’t challenge the allegations.
- Court appearance and decision
This is the stage where the landlord pursues a judgment for possession. The written eviction notice, the complaint, and any supporting documentation are all required to be presented at the hearing by both the landlord and the tenant. The judge will find in favor of the landlord if the tenant does not appear at the hearing.
- Possession Writ
If the judge determines in the landlord’s favor, a writ of possession will be issued. This is a sheriff-served court order giving the tenant 24 hours to leave the premises before being evicted forcefully.
- Return of the Property
At this point, the sheriff locks the door of the rented apartment to return it to the landlord. The tenant may be evicted violently if they refuse to leave the leased property.
Relevant Tips for Tenants
For several properties, the federal government has outlawed evictions; certain Florida counties have also added further safeguards. The eviction moratorium imposed by the CDC has been declared invalidated and is no longer in force.
You must be aware of your legal rights as a tenant. Despite the lack of a state or federal moratorium, the CARES Act nevertheless offers some federal safeguards for tenants (and landlords).
Always let your landlord know how hard you are working to make your monthly payments. Tell them about the flaws in the unemployment system and the wait times for rental assistance. Find out whether they requested a mortgage deferment and/or determine if a payment schedule can be created. Additionally, find out if the flat was built using low-income housing tax credits or if the mortgage is federally supported. That occasionally provides further safeguards.
Contact our Florida Landlord Tenant Dispute Attorney
Whatever your position, knowing your rights in Florida landlord/tenant conflicts can help you save time and money. You need an educated and assertive advocate when it comes to defending your best interests.
We have committed ourselves at Marrero, Serrano, Farah Law LP to defending Florida landlords and tenants. If litigation is required, we will rationally and tenaciously defend your rights because we have the knowledge and experience to assist you in reaching a favorable settlement.