In today’s roller coaster of an economy and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, individuals have become more reliant on each and every paycheck and some even live paycheck to paycheck. Businesses are also having a difficult time getting back on their feet and some business are even closing their doors. As emergencies always unexpectedly come up (no work and no income), it might be hard for tenants to make their monthly rental payments when they lease, especially as other bills continue to pile up and a once thriving business has had their sales plummet.
If a tenant is unable to pay their rent, the tenant’s landlord may initiate eviction proceedings to evict the tenant from the property in order for the landlord to regain possession of the property and be able to rent it back out to a new paying tenant. This process for removal is similar in both residential and commercials evictions. However, for residential evictions for non-payment of rent ONLY, tenants may be protected by the CDC Order, which in some circumstances, may cause residential landlords a delay in regaining possession of their property until June 30, 2021. The CDC Order is not applicable to non-monetary violations of the lease, holdover tenancies, or commercial evictions.
Reviewing the Rental Agreement
It is always important for both tenants and landlords to carefully read leases before signing them, so the the parties are well informed of the method of making rental payments, the amount of the rental payment, and where the payment must be sent to. Landlords cannot simply place a note on a tenants door that states “Get Out!” Before a Florida landlord can file an eviction, proper notice must be given to the tenant informing the tenant of their duty to pay the rent or to vacate the premises.
Florida’s Eviction Process
In Florida, for residential evictions for non-payment of rent, landlords must first provide a written three (3) day notice to tenant to pay rent or leave. If the 3 days have come and gone and the tenant hasn’t paid or left, the landlord may then file an eviction action in a court of competent jurisdiction in the county where the property is located pursuant to Florida Statutes, 83.59. For commercial evictions, guidance is set forth in Florida Statutes, 83.20. Once served with an eviction lawsuit, the tenant has the option to deposit the amount owed into the court’s registry and file an Answer to the eviction action or move out of the property. If the tenant has any affirmative defenses to be included in their Answer, it must be filed within five (5) business days after service of the eviction complaint and summons. Failure to adhere to above, will result in a default and default final judgment of possession without hearing thereon. See Florida Statutes, 83.60(2) for residential tenancies and Florida Statutes, 83.232.
Practice Tip– If a tenancy is on a month-to-month basis or the term in the written lease is about to end, it may be wise for the landlord to terminate the tenancy or not renew the tenancy through a notice from the landlord to the tenant indicating same. Although not required, we always recommend this notice is served upon the tenant via process server. This helps to demonstrate the seriousness of the notice. If the tenancy is residential, this route takes monies out of the equation and any COVID-19 related defenses that are raised by the tenant will most likely not be recognized by the Court.
It is important to note that landlords cannot remove tenants unless they have the court’s approval through a final judgment of possession and what is known as a Writ of Possession. A Writ of Possession is served by the local Sheriff’s office after entry of final judgment and is the final stage in the eviction process wherein the tenant is removed and possession is given back to the landlord. This process is further defined for residential tenancies under Florida Statutes, 83.62 and for commercial tenancies under Florida Statutes, 83.241. Experienced West Palm Beach Evictions Lawyers are always recommend to be consulted with.
The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC and its team of experienced West Palm Beach Evictions Attorneys are here to help! Call us today at 561.699.0399 or stop by our Lantana office located at 814 W. Lantana Rd. Suite 1, Lantana, Florida 33462 to learn about the details of our $1,500.00 Flat Fee Evictions for residential tenancies for non-payment of rent and hold-over tenancies and our $2,500.00 Flat Fee Evictions for commercial tenancies.
Please see below links to Sample Florida Landlord-Tenant Notice Forms for residential tenancies provided by Hernando County Clerk of Courts