Evictions under Florida Law
What is an Eviction?
Under Florida State laws, if your tenant is unable to or refuses to pay, the only way to remove them legally is through the eviction process. Normally, the police does not get involved with the removal of a tenant as such process is handled through the civil eviction process and not criminal law. However, if the tenant or tenants are destroying or removing property which belongs to you, then such acts may fall under actionable criminal conduct which is best addressed through the police.
There are residential evictions as well as commercial evictions. Residential ones typically take one month or so, while commercial evictions take comparatively longer.
Residential evictions are handled under the laws codified in Florida Statute Chapter 83.40 – 83.682 while commercial eviction are governed by 83.001 – 83.251. Typically, a successful litigant in an eviction proceeding is entitled to his or her attorney fees and costs.
An eviction results from a breach of contract. Either the tenant has failed to pay as required under the lease, or the tenant has overstayed his or her tenancy term, or otherwise, breached a material term of the contract such as failure to maintain the property, assigning the lease without landlord permission, or violated a clause of the contract such as a no pets requirement.
An eviction petition involves asking the court for an order which permits the Sheriff or local law enforcement to enter a private property and physically remove the tenant and his or her property. This removal is accomplished with a writ and requires a 24 hour posting. However, a writ is only achieved after a landlord is successful with an eviction proceeding through an award or judgment.
In addition to the removal, the Court, if properly pled in the litigation proceeding, may award damages including unpaid rents, award deposit monies, and other remedies including attorney fees and costs. The time frame in which to respond to an eviction complaint is 7 days for a pure eviction, and 21 days for that part of the eviction complaint which seeks damages in excess of the removal petition.
Although the process is common, there are certain intricacies which may require legal assistance in order to expeditiously prevail. Failure to follow the procedural guidelines of an eviction may result in wasting a lot of time, money, and significantly delay the removal of the tenant.
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