UPDATED: February 13, 2020
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In Florida, before eviction proceedings can take place, a landlord or tenant must first terminate the rental agreement. The steps a landlord must take in order to do this vary depending on the reasons for the termination. If the tenant refuses to leave the property after the agreement is terminated, a landlord may then begin the eviction proceedings.
Available Florida Termination Notices
Eviction is usually a multiple step process that begins with the landlord giving notice to the tenant that the tenancy is over. The only time notice does not have to be given is when a tenant remains on the property after the expiration of a lease. In all other cases, a landlord must terminate the rental agreement before proceeding with the eviction. The particular notice that must be given to terminate the agreement depends on the circumstances.
If you have a rental agreement without any specific expiration date, you must give prior written notice that the tenancy is terminated (the two most popular notice periods are covered below):
Month-to-Month: Rent is paid monthly. A 15-day notice must be given.
Week-to-Week: Rent is paid weekly. A 7-day notice must be given.
In the case of a lease that hasn't expired yet, Florida generally allows for termination by the landlord for unpaid rent or if the tenant is violating another provision of the lease. The termination notices are:
Demand for Payment or Possession: This is a 3-day notice. In Florida, tenants have 3 days to pay their rent or the rental agreement is terminated.
Material Noncompliance: This is a 7-day notice. In Florida, a tenant has 7 days to cure (or cease) a violation of their rental agreement or it is terminated. If the violation is severe, such as damaging landlord property, or if there is a repeated violation within a 12 month period, the lease is terminated immediately, with the material noncompliance notice giving the tenant 7 days to vacate.
In Florida, evictions are handled in county court. Find your local county court at the Florida State Courts website. Forms may be available online. Although most forms may appear self-explanatory, the notice requirements and special procedures involving service members may be more difficult in practice than they first appear. If you are unsure of the termination and/or eviction process at any point, you may wish to hire or consult with a Florida landlord or tenant lawyer. See Questions to Ask Your Florida Evictions Lawyer below.
Self-Help Evictions in Florida
Landlords are not allowed to engage in a wide array of self-help remedies designed to effectively evict a tenant. Landlords are forbidden from interrupting any of the tenant's utility services (even if paid for by the landlord), preventing a tenant from gaining reasonable access to the property, removing the personal property of a tenant, or modifying the property in ways that compromise habitability. In response to any of these actions, a tenant may sue a landlord for the following:
- Actual and consequential damages;
- 3 month's rent;
- Injunction prohibiting the violation;
- Court costs and attorney fees;
- Any other remedies available at law or equity.
Questions to Ask Your Florida Evictions Lawyer
- How many evictions cases have you handled?
- How many were successful/unsuccessful?
- How long will the eviction process take?
- For tenants: How long do I have before I MUST move out?
- For landlords: Will I be able to get a judgment for back rent for the amount of time the tenant has been living in the rental property illegally?
- What do you charge?
- For landlords: If I hire you, will I be subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?