Eviction Process Timeline

Eviction Process in Florida

How Long Does Eviction Process Take In Florida?

Before a landlord may file an eviction case in court, the tenancy must be terminated.  A tenancy may be terminated for cause or without cause.  The tenancy can be terminated by delivering to the tenant proper notice. see Avoid Self-Help Eviction


How long the eviction process takes in Florida depends on many factors, include: whether the tenant responds to the eviction, and the court, clerks and sheriff's work-load and calendar at the time the eviction is being processed.


An uncontested residential eviction for non-payment of rent can sometimes be finalized within approximately 3 to 4 weeks, but a contested eviction may take a few months to finalize.   Below are the steps necessary to complete a residential eviction in Florida along with an estimated time to complete each step.


  1. STEP ONE: Landlord Delivers Proper Notice to Tenant
  2. STEP TWO: Filing an Eviction Case in Court
  3. STEP THREE: is Served with Eviction Court Papers
  4. STEP FOUR: After the Eviction Case is Served on Tenant
  5. STEP FIVE: Tenant Answers Eviction Complaint
  6. STEP SIX: Court Enters Eviction or Sets Hearing
  7. STEP SEVEN: Sheriff to Finalize Eviction


Eviction attorney Christophe Fiori assists owners and property managers in residential and commercial eviction actions.  Call to speak with an experienced eviction attorney for a free consultation (888) 384-2872

Step One: Landlord Delivers Proper Notice to Tenant

Determining Grounds for Eviction and Delivering Proper Notice to the Tenant

Landlords evict for many reasons.  Before filing an eviction case in court, it is necessary for the landlord to post a proper notice informing the tenant of the amount owed to the landlord or the tenant's non-compliance and giving the tenant the proscribed time to come into compliance.


Some common reasons Landlord's evict a tenant include:


  • Failure to Pay Rent or Paying Rent Late (Learn More)
  • Tenant Remaining in Possession of the Property After Expiration of a Rental Agreement (Learn More)
  • Non-Compliance or Violation of Rental Agreement or Florida law (More Learn)
  • Removing a Guest, Family Member, Significant Other, Friend, or Other Person (Learn More)


It is important to select the proper notice to deliver to the tenant.  Florida Eviction attorney Chris Fiori has vast experience in many Florida counties helping Florida landlords dealing with non-complying tenants. We offer a free consultation to answer many questions, call (813) 333-1660.0


The notice to the tenant must be in writing, and either hand-delivered, posted, or mailed, even if the rental agreement is oral. The owner, landlord or landlord's agent can post a notice to the tenant on the property.  It is not required that a certified process server or sheriff post the notice to tenant on the property.  Who Can Deliver the Notice to Tenant?


STEP ONE: PROVIDING NOTICE TO THE TENANT 


Terminating Tenancy With Cause (F.S. 83.20)

3 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate (Tenant Not Paying Rent)  (download free 3 Day Notice)

If the tenant fails to pay rent or pays rent late, the landlord may deliver to the tenant a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate.  Eviction for non-payment of rent in Florida requires posting a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate before the tenancy can be terminated and an eviction case can be filed in court.  The 3 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate must inform the tenant that the rent is late and due within 3 days (excluding the day served, weekends, and legal holidays) of serving the notice, or the landlord will terminate the tenancy.  If the tenant fails to pay or vacate before expiration of the 3 Day Notice the landlord may file an eviction in court. (see Florida Eviction Law 83.56(3)).


7 Day Notice to With Opportunity to Cure (Material Breach of Lease or Law) (download free 7 Day Notice to Cure)

If the tenant violates provisions of the rental agreement or law, and the violation is of a nature that the tenant should be given an opportunity to cure the violation, then the landlord may deliver to the tenant a 7 Day Notice With Opportunity to Cure.  This notice should inform the tenant that the tenant has 7 days in which to come into compliance or the landlord may terminate the tenancy.  If the tenant fails to come into compliance or if the tenant continues the violation then the landlord may file an eviction in court. Some examples of curable violations include: unauthorized pet, unauthorized tenant, parking in unauthorized parking spot, failing to keep premises clean and sanitary. (see Florida Eviction Law 83.56(2)(b)).


7 Day Notice Without Opportunity to Cure (Material Breach of Lease or Law) (download free 7 Day Notice Termination)

If the tenant repeatedly violates provisions of the rental agreement or law, or if the tenant violates provisions of the lease agreement or law, and the violation is of a nature that the tenant should not be given an opportunity to cure the violation, then the landlord may deliver to the tenant a 7 Day Notice Without Opportunity to cure.   This notice should inform the tenant that the landlord is terminating the rental agreement and the tenant must vacate within 7 days or the landlord may file an eviction case in court. Some examples of non-curable violations include: willful destruction, damage, or misuse of landlord's or other tenants' property by intentional act, or continued or subsequent unreasonable disturbance, repeated violations after 7 Day Notice to Cure. (see Florida Eviction Law 83.56(2)(a)).


Terminating Tenancy Without Cause

15 Day Notice Terminating Month-to-Month Tenancy (download free 15 Day Notice)

If the tenant has an oral or written month-to-month rental agreement, then the rental agreement may be terminated without case by the landlord. The landlord may terminate an oral or written month-to-month rental agreement by delivering a 15 Day Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month tenancy.  The landlord must give the tenant 15 days notice before the end of the tenancy that the tenancy will be terminated and that the tenant must vacate at the end of the tenancy or the landlord will file an eviction in court. (see Florida Eviction Law 83.57).


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Step Two: Filing an Eviction Case In Court

Filing an Eviction Case in Court After Expiration of Proper Notice

If the tenant has not complied with the terms of a proper notice to tenant, and the notice has expired, the landlord may file an eviction case in court.


Florida eviction attorney Chris Fiori assists landlords with filing an eviction case in court.  No office visit is necessary, but we always welcome personal visits to the office located on Westshore Blvd in Tampa.


Generally, county clerk of courts may take up to 3 business days to issue a case number and summon.  The summons is necessary for service of court documents on the tenant.  Once the clerk has issued the summons and case number, it is necessary to serve the eviction documents on the tenant at the property. This service of court documents must be performed by a Florida certified court process server, and can be posted on the property or delivered personally to the tenant.


Evictions in Florida can include Count I for Possession of the Property  and Count II for Past Due Rent and Damages.


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Step Three: Tenant is Served with Eviction Court Papers

Service of Court Eviction Documents

After the tenant is served with the eviction court documents, the tenant will have up to five (5) business days to respond to the eviction court documents.  When counting five (5) business days  do not include the date the eviction documents were served on the tenant, do not count Saturdays, Sunday, and legal holidays. (view More and Legal Holidays)


An eviction case in Florida is a legal case in court to obtain possession of a property from someone else in possession of the property unlawfully.  Possession for property is generally referred to as Count I of the Eviction Complaint or law suit.  If your eviction complaint includes only Count I for Possession of the property, then the eviction documents may be posted on the property to obtain a final judgment of eviction for possession of the property. Posting of the eviction court documents must be served by a Florida certified service processor.  Service of the court eviction documents can take up to 3 business days.


If your eviction complaint includes only Count II for Past Due rent and Damages, then it is is necessary to personally serve on the tenant the eviction summons and complaint.  This is referred to as personal service.  Personal service of the eviction summons and complaint can extend the amount of time required to finalize an eviction.


In addition to the eviction court papers being served on the tenant or property, the clerk of court will mail a copy of the summons and eviction complaint on the tenant via US First Class mail.


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Step Four: After the Eviction Case is Served on Tenant

The Tenant has 5 Days to Answer Eviction Case in Court

After the eviction summons and complaint are served on the tenant or property, the tenant will have 5 business days to file a response and deposit undisputed past due rent into the registry of the court.  (When counting 5 business days, do not count the day of service, weekends or legal holidays.)


The tenant is required to file a written answer with the clerk of court and the tenant must also serve a copy of the Answer on the Landlord or Landlord's attorney.  The summons, issued by the clerk and served on the tenant along with the eviction complaint will explain what action the tenant must undertake within  five (5) days.


Tenant Defenses to Florida Eviction.  In most cases, before the tenant can claim a valid defense to an eviction case, the tenant must deposit into the registry of the court the past due rent as alleged in the complaint and notice.  Additionally, the tenant is required to deposit into the registry of the court the accruing rent during the pendency of the case.  This means that the tenant must deposit into the registry of the court the accruing rent that comes due each month.  If the tenant fails to deposit past due rent into the registry of the court a default may be entered against the tenant by the court.


Some common defenses to a Florida eviction case filed in court include:

  • Defective Notice A defective notice could result in the court dismissing the eviction case.  A defective notice could include incorrect tenant names, address or past due amount.
  • Constructive eviction or material non-compliance by the landlord
  • Retaliation by the landlord
  • Discrimination by the landlord


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Step Five: Court Enters an Eviction or Sets Hearing

The Court will Review the Tenant's Answer and Case File

After 5 Business Days the Court Reviews the Case

After expiration of the '5 Days to Answer' the summons and eviction complaint, the Court will review the case file including the tenant's answer (if the tenant has filed an answer or paid past due rent into the registry of the court).  


After review of the court file, the court enter a default eviction against the tenant or the court may schedule the case for a hearing.  Some reasons the court may enter a default eviction against the tenant include if the the tenant fails to answer the compliant or if the tenant fails to allege a legal defense to the request for eviction.  If the court enters a default eviction against the tenant, then the clerk will next issue a writ of possession (go to Writ of Possession)


In some cases the court may set the eviction case for a hearing to determine how much rent the tenant must deposit into the registry of the court or to render a decision of the request for an eviction (otherwise called a Final Hearing).

Step Six: Clerk Issues a Writ of Possession

Clerk May Issue a Writ of Possession After a Final Judgment is Entered by the Court

A Writ of Possession may be issued, after a Final Judgment of eviction has been entered by the Court. 


The issued Writ of Possession is then delivered to the Sheriff's office to be served upon the Tenant and who, if necessary, will forcibly evict the Tenant after 25 hours from the time of service.


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Step Seven: Sheriff to finalize Eviction

Sheriff will Finalize the Eviction by Executing the Writ of Possession

SERVING NOTICE ON THE TENANT The Deputy Sheriff will post a copy of the Writ of Possession on the tenant's premises which states that the tenant will have 24 hours to vacate.  If the tenant does not vacate within the 24 hour period, the Deputy Sheriff will place the landlord in possession of the premises by removing the tenant.  After the Deputy Sheriff has removed the tenant from the premises, the landlord or his agent may remove any personal property found on the premises to or near the property line.  


24 HOUR PERIOD Pursuant to Florida Rules of Civil Procedure applying to Computation of Time, the day the writ is posted is not counted.  The 24 HOUR period begins at 12:01 a.m., the business day following the posting, not including weekends or legal holidays. 


FOLLOWING THE 24 HOUR PERIOD Following the 24 Hour period, the Writ of Possession will be scheduled for conclusion by the Sheriff’s deputy as soon as possible.  The Landlord, property manager, or other contact listed on the Writ will be contacted by the Sheriff’s deputy after posting of the 24 Hour Notice to schedule conclusion of the Writ of Possession.  For Conclusion of the Writ of Possession, the Landlord or agent must be present at the property at the date and time scheduled.  


Don’t Forget

  • Arrange for a locksmith if necessary
  • Do Not enter the premises or building prior to the deputy’s arrival to conclude the Writ.  
  • The deputy must walk thru the premises or building to ensure that all persons and animals are not long inside.


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