If a tenant does not pay rent in Florida, then a landlord can evict the tenant from the rental unit. A tenant will have three days after receiving the eviction notice to either pay the rent or leave the property. This article explains how to evict a tenant in Florida for nonpayment of rent according to the Florida state landlord-tenant statutes.
Rent is generally due on the first day of every month, including weekends and holidays, unless a different date is specified in the lease or rental agreement. Some landlords may agree in the lease or rental agreement that rent will be due on the next business day if the due date falls on a weekend or holiday.
If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, then the landlord can give the tenant a three-day notice for failure to pay rent, or a notice similarly named. The tenant then has three days to pay the rent or leave the rental property. The three days begins on the date the notice is delivered to the tenant. Weekends and legal holidays are not included in this three-day time period (see Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83-56(3)). This means that if rent is due on a Thursday and the landlord gives the tenant the three-day notice for failure to pay rent the next day (Friday), then the tenant would have until the following Wednesday to either pay rent or move out of the rental unit.
In Florida, the three-day notice for failure to pay rent must be written and include the following statement:
"You are hereby notified that you are indebted to me in the sum of ___ dollars for the rent and use of the premises (address of leased premises, including county), Florida, now occupied by you and that I demand payment of the rent or possession of the premises within 3 days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) from the date of delivery of this notice, to wit: on or before the __ day of ___ , (year).
(landlord’s name, address and phone number)."
This statement comes directly from the Florida state law governing three-day notices to evict tenants and must be included in the eviction notice given to the tenant (see Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83-56(3)).
The landlord has three options for serving the three-day notice under Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83-56(4):
1. The landlord, or an agent of the landlord, can personally give the notice to the tenant at the rental property.
2. The landlord can mail a copy of the three-day notice by regular mail, registered mail, or certified mail. If the landlord mails the notice, then it is best for the landlord needs to request a return receipt.
3. If the landlord is unable to give the notice directly to the tenant, the landlord can leave the three-day notice at the rental unit in a conspicuous place, such as taped to the front door of the rental unit.
If the landlord does not serve the notice properly, then the landlord must create a new notice and start the process over. The three-day notice will not be in effect until the landlord properly serves the tenant in one of the three ways listed above.
What happens next depends on the tenant’s response to the three-day notice:
The landlord must successfully win the eviction case in the court before an officer of the law can legally take possession of the property. It is very important that landlords do not engage in "self-help" practices (such as changing the locks or shutting off the utilities) and that they follow the procedures for filing the eviction complaint (see Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83-67).
For sample complaint forms for eviction and recovery of rent in Florida, see the Florida State Bar website, forms 5, 5a, and 7.
For more articles on landlord-tenant laws in Florida, including Florida tenant rights to withhold rent and illegal eviction procedures in Florida, see the Florida charts in the State Landlord-Tenant Laws section of the Nolo site. For more on eviction-related articles, see the Evicting a Tenant or Ending a Lease section of the Nolo site.