Below is a general description of the eviction process and costs involved, not including legal fees. The Florida eviction process involves going through a lot of hands. Miscommunications and mistakes are not uncommon. As the eviction winds its way through all the parties, a good eviction lawyer knows how to keep on top of everything – make sure to get status updates from your Florida eviction lawyer.
Find Florida eviction lawyers in your county at Property Manager Pages. Below is a summary of the process. There are several possible ways a tenant may be evicted: for non-payment of rent, non-payment of other amounts due such as security deposits and pet fees, violating the rules of the property, violating the law, interfering with other tenants’ right to enjoy their use of the property or staying after their lease expires without consent:
1. 3-Day Notice or 7-Day Notice or 7-Day Notice to Cure or Notice of Non-Renewal is Served. Do not include the day of service of the Notice, weekends or holidays. Be extra careful to fill out the form correctly – if you’re not sure, ask your Florida eviction attorney.
2. Upon expiration of the applicable time period, file original complaint plus copies for each tenant with the County Clerk. For each tenant, include a copy of the lease if there is one and the Notice. Make sure the complaint is signed in front of a deputy clerk or notarized. The filing cost to the clerk of the court is $185 in Florida. The case must be filed in the county where the rental property is situated.
3. The County Clerk issues an Eviction Summons. The clerk of court also charges $10 for each summons to be issued, which is for each tenant. The Summons must be served by either the Sheriff in the county where the eviction case is filed, or by a licensed private process server.
4. Some Florida Sheriff’s offices allow a private server to serve the Eviction Summons. Other Sheriff’s offices do not allow private servers to perform this function. Most Sheriff’s offices charge per tenant. Sheriff’s charges usually range between $10 – $45 per tenant. Private servers are usually a little more expensive. However an eviction attorney will usually contract with a private process server to charge a lower amount. If permitted, it may help expedite the process to use a private server – especially during holiday seasons.
5. The tenant is afforded five days – again, not counting weekends, holidays and day of service of process – to answer/respond to the summons. If the tenant responds and deposits the funds with the court, you or your attorney need to schedule a court hearing.
6. If the tenant does not respond within the five days, you or your eviction lawyer can file Motion for Default with the Clerk of Court in order to get a Final Judgment for Possession and Writ of Possession. Once Default is entered by the Clerk, the Judge will review the file and enter a Final Judgment for Possession and direction for the Clerk to issue the Writ of Possession. If the tenant does respond, then different and additional procedures are involved which can include striking the response, requiring the tenant to deposit rent into the clerk of court registry, mediations, hearings to determine rent to deposit into the clerk of court registry and trials.
7. You or your attorney will give the Clerk the original Final Judgment for Possession together with copies for all tenants and you.
8. The County Clerk issues a Writ of Possession to the Sheriff.
9. The Sheriff posts the Notice of Removal on the tenant’s door. The Notice of Removal gives 24 hours notice for the tenant to vacate and remove their personal property. The Sheriffs charge a fee of between about $90 to $115 for their services. After 24 hours – which may mean the following day to several days – the Sheriff returns to perform the physical removal of the tenants. The Sheriff is not a moving company or a locksmith - his responsibility is to perform the removal of any occupants and to keep the peace. So the landlord must have access to the property, either with a spare key or with a locksmith, and have people present to remove the tenants’ personal property in the rental property to the property line. Additional rules and procedures are involved in dealing with tenants’ personal property that must be complied with.
10. Usually the tenant leaves before the Sheriff shows up to force him out. The Sheriff generally remains on the property during the removal for about 15 minutes. If the tenant attempts to return after the removal, the tenant should be considered a trespasser, and the police can be contacted.
The above is a general explanation of the process and is not all inclusive nor should it be considered the giving of any legal advice or opinion. The above process is for eviction only and does not include the additional processes, forms, fees and laws related to collection of any sums due from the tenant. For governmental sponsored properties including Section 8, voucher properties and tax credit properties, additional laws, rules, forms and procedures may apply.
Thanks to attorney Kevin Fabrikant for his help with this post. Kevin can be reached at 954-966-0881 or see profile for The Eviction Law Firm. The Eviction Law Firm does evictions throughout all of Florida.