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 about 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.  Call to speak with an experienced eviction attorney about your specific case (888) 384-2872

1. Delivering Proper Notice to Evict Generally 3, 7, or 15 days notice before filing an eviction. see More

2. Filing Eviction Case In Court Generally allow 2 to 3 days for the clerk of court to issue a case number. see More

3. Serving Tenant with Eviction Papers Generally allow 1 to 3 days for service (by posting) of court documents.  Once the eviction documents and summons are posted on the property, the tenant has a limited amount of time to answer the complaint (5 business days). 

Posting or Personal Service of court documents

Possession of the property (also referred to as Count I).  The eviction documents must be posted on the property to obtain a final judgment of eviction and possession of the property.

Past due Rent and Damages (also referred to as Count II).  The eviction documents must be personally served on the tenant to obtain a final judgment of past due rent and damages. see More

4. Tenant Has 5 Days to Answer Eviction Papers This means 5 business days, not including weekends, or legal holidays.  Generally allow 7 to 10 days.

  • The tenant must file an answer with the clerk.  The Tenant's answer must contain any and all defenses the tenant has against the eviction.  Also, the tenant must deposit the registry of the court any undisputed unpaid rent.
  • A copy of the answer must be delivered to the landlord or landlord's attorney.
  • If the tenant does not file an answer with the clerk, a default may be entered. see More

5. Court Enters a Default or Sets Hearing on Eviction Generally allow 5 to 7 days in uncontested cases for the court to enter a default.  Allow more time if a hearing is required.

  • If the tenant fails to answer the eviction complaint, then the court will enter a default final judgment of eviction against the tenant.
  • The court may set a hearing to determine the amount of rent a tenant must deposit with the clerk of court or to determine if an eviction will be entered against the tenant. see More

6. Clerk Issues Writ of Possession Generally allow 1 to 3 days for the clerk to issue the writ of possession. see More

7. Sheriff to Execute the Writ of Possession  Generally allow 5 to 7 days for the Sheriff to finalize the eviction and turn over possession to the landlord. see More

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

Proper Notice of Eviction Before Filing


Determining Grounds for Eviction and Delivering Proper Notice to the Tenant

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.

Eviction for non-payment of rent in Florida requires posting a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate before an eviction case can be filed in court.

  • The notice must be in writing, and either hand-delivered, posted, or mailed, even if the rental agreement is oral. see Eviction Notice Requirements
  • 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. see Who Can Deliver a notice to Tenant  see also FAQs

Next: Filing an eviction case in court

see Preparing to Evict

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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.

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.

Next: Serving Eviction Documents on Tenant

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Serving the Tenant with Eviction Court Papers

Serving eviction court papers on tenant

Official Service of Court Documents

After obtaining a case number and summons, it is necessary to serve the eviction complaint on the tenant.  Court documents must be served on the tenant by certified process server.

In most cases the service processor can post the eviction summons and complaint on the property.  Posting of the eviction complaint by a service processor can take up to 3 business days.  

In some cases it is necessary to personally serve the tenant with the eviction summons and complaint.  Personal service of the eviction summons and complaint can take longer.

Next: Tenant's time to Answer

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After the Eviction Case is Served on Tenant

The tenant has 5 days to answer eviction complaint in court.

The Tenant has 5 Days to Answer Eviction Case in Court

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

Tenant Defenses to Florida Eviction  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.  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

Next: Court to Review eviction case

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Expiration of the Tenant's Time to Answer Eviction


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

5 Business Days to Answer Eviction

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

Depending on the tenant's response as filed with the court, the eviction court may enter a default against the tenant or schedule the case for a hearing.

The Court Will Enter a Default if No Answer is Filed

The Court May Set a Hearing

Clerk Issues a Writ of Possession

clerk of court 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.

Next: Sheriff to Finalize Eviction

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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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