What You Need To Know About Eviction in Florida

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In Florida, landlords must provide written notice of eviction that provides tenants three to 15 days to leave the premises, depending on the landlord’s reason for eviction. It’s illegal for landlords to file an eviction lawsuit before providing written notice, and it’s also illegal for landlords to physically remove tenants from their property. 
Considering the current economic climate in the US and around the world, it’s no surprise that fear of being evicted is much more common now than it had been before the COVID-19 pandemic. With price inflation and an unstable job market, every tenant must understand their state’s eviction laws. 
That’s why Jerry, the super app that helps save you money on car and renters insurance, has created a guide to eviction in Florida. Read more to understand why and how a landlord can evict you, the general process, and the steps you can take to protect yourself from eviction. 
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Florida eviction 101: three ways you can be evicted 

While each eviction case is unique, one crucial rule applies to every eviction in Florida: the landlord must give written notice, but the type of notice will depend on the reason for eviction. Landlords cannot physically remove you from the premises, even if they’ve won an eviction lawsuit against you. 
Here are the three ways you can be evicted in Florida, along with the type of notice your landlord must provide depending on your situation: 
  • Three-day notice to pay rent or vacate: If a tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord may provide written notice that the tenant has three days to pay rent, or the landlord will terminate their tenancy. If three days pass without the tenant paying rent, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. The three-day period doesn’t include holidays or weekends, however. 
  • Seven-day notice to cure: If the tenant breaks a term of their rental agreement, but their violation can be reversed or corrected, the landlord can provide their tenant with a seven-day notice to cure. This gives the tenant seven days to amend their violation, so they comply with the terms of their lease. If the tenant doesn’t fix their violation, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. 
  • Seven-day unconditional quit notice: Landlords can provide this type of notice to their tenants if they intentionally destroy the landlord’s property, create an unreasonable disturbance, or commit the same lease violation within 12 months. This notice allows the tenant seven days to move out before the landlord can proceed with an eviction lawsuit. 
In Florida, landlords can evict tenants without cause, although the procedures are different from eviction with cause. The rules surrounding eviction without cause depend on whether the tenancy is fixed-term or month-to-month
  • Month-to-month eviction without cause: If a landlord wants to evict a month-to-month tenant but doesn’t have any valid reason to do so, they can provide the tenant with written notice that their agreement will end in 15 days, and the tenant must move out of the unit by that time. 
  • Fixed-term eviction without cause: Landlords can’t evict fixed-term tenants in the middle of their term without cause, so they must wait until the end of the fixed term to terminate the tenancy. Landlords don’t have to provide tenants with notice of this type of termination unless the terms of the rental agreement require it. 
Regardless of the cause of your eviction notice, if you can’t pay your rent, remain in line with your rental agreement, or negotiate some sort of solution with your landlord, they have a legal reason to file an eviction lawsuit after the allotted time on your notice passes. 
If your landlord is successful, a sheriff or constable may legally remove you from the premises. 
Key Takeaway Landlords must carefully follow written notice procedures before filing an eviction lawsuit against their tenants. There are different notice periods for different eviction reasons, and landlords cannot physically remove you from the premises under any circumstance. 

A timeline of eviction in Florida

Depending on the reason your landlord is trying to evict you, you’re entitled to three to 15 days of written notice before they can go ahead with an eviction lawsuit. In the case that your landlord does file an eviction lawsuit, how long should you expect the process to take? If you’re facing possible eviction in Florida, here’s what the process usually looks like:
StepHow long it typically takesWhat to expect
Written notice from landlord3-15 daysYour landlord should send you a written notice outlining the reasons for the eviction and the number of days you have to vacate the premises.
Summons and ComplaintWithin 60 days of filingAfter filing a lawsuit, your landlord will serve you with a court summons and complaint for eviction.
Tenant response5-20 daysYou have five days, excluding weekends and holidays, to respond to the complaint for eviction and 20 days to file a written response to a complaint for back rent and damages.
The hearingDate decided by landlord and tenant, or judge if no date is setThe court will rule on the case based on the landlord’s information and your response.
EvictionWithin 24 hours after the hearingThe court will issue a final 24-hour notice, called a “writ of possession,” which is posted on the tenant’s rental home by the sheriff. The tenant then has 24 hours to move out. After 24 hours, the sheriff or landlord can forcibly evict the tenant and padlock the door.
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From start to finish, eviction can take quite a while, from the day you receive your first written notice to the day of the court hearing and final ruling on the eviction lawsuit. It’s hard to know exactly how much time you’ll have, so understanding your rights in this position is crucial. 

How to resist eviction in Florida 

You have rights as a tenant in Florida, and there’s no better time to assert these rights than when your landlord is trying to evict you. Here’s what you can do to resist eviction in Florida: 
  • Fix the problem causing the eviction notice: If you’d rather not go through a laundry list of paperwork and days of waiting, the best way to deal with your notice is to fix the problem your landlord has cited in their notice. Borrow money to pay rent, give your furry friend to a trusted family member, or call up a handyman to put your landlord at ease. 
  • Identify procedural mistakes: If your landlord doesn’t follow proper eviction protocol, like failing to provide written notice, changing the locks, or even turning off your utilities, you can bring these mishaps up in court and have the case dismissed. Make sure you document each mistake so you can provide evidence, 
  • Point out that the landlord didn’t properly maintain their property: If your landlord is attempting to evict you on the grounds of property damage that you’ve asked to have fixed in the past, you can bring this up in court and have the case dismissed. For example, if there’s mold growing in your shower, but your bathroom doesn’t have a fan, and you’ve asked for a solution, your landlord should have a tough time trying to evict you for water damage in your bathroom. 
  • Be aware of housing-based discrimination: In Florida, it’s illegal to evict tenants based on race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, and other visible identity markers. If it seems like your landlord’s eviction notice is discriminatory, work with a lawyer to bring this up in court, which will hopefully result in having the case thrown out. 
Depending on your situation, use the above defenses to appropriately respond to an eviction lawsuit or even to sue your landlord outright. You may be awarded damages if the court rules in your favor, and you’ll avoid being kicked out of your home. 

How to save money on Florida renters and car insurance

Considering the current economic climate, it's no wonder that failure to pay rent is one of the most common reasons for eviction these days. The price of living continues to soar as living wages remain the same, making it increasingly difficult to find the money to pay for housing each month. 
Thankfully, Jerry, the car and renters insurance comparison and shopping super app, is here to help. 
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The best part? Jerry customers save an average of $800 a year on car insurance alone, which could be enough to help with your monthly housing expenses. 
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