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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.