Eviction in Florida: Brief Overview
Updated: May 26
An eviction is when a landlord forces a tenant to move out. To evict a tenant in Florida, a landlord must follow the procedure governed by Florida's Landlord and Tenant Act. Failure to follow the proper procedure, or filing a suit on improper grounds, could lead to adverse outcomes such as your eviction lawsuit being dismissed.
TERMINATING A TENANCY
Common grounds to terminate a tenancy are when a tenant fails to pay rent, violates the rental agreement, or violates local, state, or federal law. Other grounds include the absence or expiration of a rental agreement. The following are the main steps required to evict a tenant in Florida.
FILING AN EVICTION
If a tenant does not comply with the notice, the next step in the eviction process is to file an eviction complaint in the county where the property is located. Once an eviction suit is filed, the clerk of court must issue a summons for each defendant, and then a professional process server or the Sheriff’s office must serve the tenant with both the summons and the complaint.
Once served, the tenant has a certain number of days, which are prescribed by statute depending on the grounds for eviction, to answer the complaint. If the tenant answers, the tenant is allowed provide factual and legal defenses. If the court needs to resolve any legal issues, the court may schedule hearings to determine the issues.
A hearing can be scheduled by either the landlord or the tenant. Once scheduled, the other party must be served notice. If the case is contested, both parties will be given an opportunity to provide evidence and make legal arguments to the court.
REMOVING THE TENANT
If the court grants the landlord a final judgment, the landlord, or their attorney, must get an order for writ of possession issued by the court and the writ issued by the clerk of court. The writ commands the Sheriff to put the landlord back into possession of the property. Once the Sheriff has served the tenant with notice, the tenant will generally have 24 hours to vacate the property. If the tenant does not vacate, the Sheriff will return to remove the tenant.
The above is an overarching view of the eviction process in Florida, but the statutory requirements and procedures can be complicated and vary depending on the particular facts of a case. For a more detailed explanation of the process, read our article on the Eviction Process in Florida.
Last Updated May, 2023.
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