Whether you are a great landlord or a terrible one, you are still likely to have issues with tenants that may eventually lead to eviction. Screening your tenants is important, but it does not guarantee that you will not have problems in the future. Even if you have a great relationship with those living on your property, there may come a time when they are unable to pay you. When this happens, it could be cause for eviction, but how do you follow through on evicting without violating the law?
Understand state laws
Eviction laws differ from state to state, so you must first understand them before taking steps. To evict a tenant, the state of Florida requires that you complete the following four steps:
- Serve a three or seven-day eviction notice.
- File complaint and summons.
- Go to court.
- Obtain a Writ of Possession.
Hopefully, once the tenant has been served with an eviction notice, you will not have any further problems, and he or she will leave peacefully. Keep in mind that if the eviction is because the tenant has not been paying, you should always use the three-day notice. The seven-day notice is for other lease violations.
If the tenant refuses to leave the premises, the landlord has the option to file a complaint and summons with the County Clerk. Once the complaint is filed, the tenant is delivered a summons to inform that he or she is being sued to evict the property. The delivery service or the sheriff can post a notice to the property if the tenant cannot be located to deliver the summons.
Once the summons has been delivered, the tenant has five days to respond to the court. If he or she does not respond during the five-day period, then a default judgment is made for the landlord. If the tenant does respond, it is the landlord’s responsibility to schedule a court appointment to plead his case.
When the landlord is given final possession of the property, he or she can request a Writ of Possession, which must be served by the sheriff to the tenant. If the tenant has not removed himself or herself from the property within 24 hours, he or she will be physically removed.
Reclaim your property
If you are worried about the activity going on in your property or are tired of having to fight to get rent every month, you may contact a lawyer immediately to handle the eviction process. While you manage your property, an attorney can handle all the legal details that come from an eviction.