Evictions

  1. General Information
  2. Filing an Eviction
  3. Landlord and Tenant Obligations

Rights and Duties of Landlords and Tenants

Under Florida law, landlords and tenants have certain rights and duties. Information on the rights and duties of landlords and tenants can be found in the consumer information section of the Florida Bar website.

Leases

A lease is an agreement to rent property. It may be written or oral. Most leases are written because oral agreements can be subject to misunderstandings. A written lease can be in the form of a formal contract or simply a copy of a letter that states the rights and obligations of both tenant and landlord. Florida law requires that most notices to and from a landlord must be in writing, even if the rental agreement is oral. In cases where there is no written lease, the term of your rental payment schedule determines the length of the agreement.

Termination of Tenancy

Under Florida Statute, tenancy without a specific duration may be terminated by either party by giving the proper written notice.

Failure to Meet Lease Obligations

Except for the failure to pay rent, a landlord must notify tenants in writing of the shortcomings and allow seven days to correct the situation. If a tenant does not reply within seven days, the landlord can begin the eviction process.

Non-Payment of Rent

The landlord must serve the tenant with a written notice allowing three days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) to pay the rent or vacate the premises. If the tenant does not pay within three days, the landlord may begin the eviction process. The landlord must file an eviction in the Clerk's office in the county the dwelling is located. The tenant then has five days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) to respond in writing to the court. If there is no response from the tenant a judgement is entered against them. The Clerk will issue a "Writ of Possession" to be served by the sheriff notifying the tenant that they will be evicted in 24 hours.

Rent deposits must be paid to the Clerk's office using cash or a cashier's check/certified funds. Please note there are additional handling fees of 3.5% of the first $500 and then 1.5% on the balance. For example, if it's an $800 deposit, the handling fees are $15 + $4.50 = $19.50.

Prohibited Practices

Florida law does not allow a landlord to force a tenant out by:

  • Shutting off the utilities,
  • Denying the tenant access to the premises by changing locks,
  • Removing the tenant's personal property from the dwelling unless it is a lawful eviction,
  • Removing outside doors, locks, roof, walls, or windows except for purposes maintenance, repair, or replacement.

Florida Rural Legal Services

Florida Rural Legal Services (FRLS) helps low-income clients with civil cases and questions regarding housing. Full details are available on the FRLS website.