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Eviction in Florida

Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes provides the law to follow in an eviction case.

The filing fee, payable to the Clerk of Court of Miami-Dade County is $185.00 (this price varies by county). You will also likely need to hire a process server to serve documents when the time comes to file the lawsuit.

1: Three-Day Notice.

Before filing a Complaint to evict a tenant, a landlord must serve a Three-Day Notice which states that the tenant must pay the rent or relinquish possession of the property within 3 days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) after the date of delivery of notice.

Section 83.56 states: "(4) The delivery of the written notices required by subsections (1), (2), and (3) shall be by mailing or delivery of a true copy thereof or, if the tenant is absent from the premises, by leaving a copy thereof at the residence." Thus, the Three-Day Notice must be mailed (certified is recommended) or left on the door of the property (or in a conspicuous place).

After the expiration time on the service of the Three-Day Notice and the tenant taking no action, the landlord may file the Complaint for Eviction.

2: Summons & Complaint

Complaint: The landlord should prepare a Complaint for eviction and make sufficient copies of the Complaint for each tenant and the Clerk. The landlord shall attach a copy of the Three-Day notice and lease, if one exists, to each copy of the Complaint.

Summons: With the Complaint you will give the Clerk an eviction Summons to issue for each tenant. There is a fee to issue the summons that the Clerk will charge varying by county. The Sheriff or a private process server can serve this Summons. The Miami-Dade Sheriff"s fee is $40.00 per tenant and must be in the form of cash or money order. Other counties" pricing may vary. Private process servers can occasionally be cheaper than the Sheriff.

Requirements Checklist (from http://www.miamidade.gov/police/evictions.asp):

  • 3 copies: Three Day Notice (one original is enclosed with the package)
  • 1 Original and 2 copies: Complaint For Removal of Tenant (one original is enclosed with the package)
  • 1 copy to Tenant
  • 1 copy to Complainant
  • 1 copy for the Court
  • 1 Original and 2 copies: Five Day Summons (three are enclosed in the package)
  • A stamped envelope addressed to the defendant
  • $185.00 filing fee (Cash, Check, Money Order, VISA/MC)
  • $40.00 Sheriff"s Fee for each service of the Five Day Summons per address (Check, Money Order). You also have the option of hiring a certified process server. The Three Day Notice can either be delivered to the property or sent through the mail. After three days, not including the day the notice is received, the Complaint For Removal of Tenant and the Five Day Summons can be served on the tenant. If the first two attempts are unsuccessful, the documents can be posted on the residence. If the tenant does not vacate the residence or fails to respond to the summons within the prescribed time frame (five days not counting the day of service or posting, or Saturdays, Sundays, or Holidays), you will need a Default Package. It too can be obtained from the Clerk of the Courts Office and contains the following:
    • Affidavit of Non-Payment of Rent (Notarized Original Required)
    • Non-Military Affidavit (Notarized Original Required)
    • Motion For Default and Default (Original)
    • Final Judgment For Removal of Tenant (Original + 2 Copies)
    • Writ of Possession (Original + 2 Copies)
    • You must supply two stamped envelopes (one addressed to you and one addressed to the tenant
    • You must also submit a check or money order for $115.00 made payable to "Miami-Dade County Sheriff." The check must be from a Miami-Dade County banking institution and have your name and address pre-printed on it.
3 – Court

Answer by the Tenant: The tenant has five business days (excluding holidays) after receipt of service of the Summons and Complaint to file an answer. The tenant also must put the amount of rent in dispute into the court registry. Failure to do so will waive all tenant"s defenses against the eviction. If this is done, then the landlord should contact the court to obtain a hearing.

Default: If the tenant fails to answer the Complaint within 5 business days, excluding holidays, then the landlord may file a Motion for Default/Order of Default with the Clerk. Once the Clerk stamps the Order of Default, the Clerk can proceed to obtain Final Judgment for Possession and obtain a Writ of Possession. The landlord will also need to submit an affidavit that the tenant(s) are not in the military as this will change the times to respond etc.

Judgment: Once judgment is entered, give the Clerk an original Final Judgment for Possession and a copy for yourself and each of the tenants. You must also furnish the Clerk with pre-addressed stamped envelopes to the tenant(s) and one for yourself for mailing the conformed copy of the Final Judgment.

4: Regaining Possession

After entry of the final judgment, the landlord will submit to the clerk, and the Clerk will issue, a Writ of Possession to the Sheriff to remove the tenant after 24 hour notice to the tenant conspicuously posted on the property. The Writ must be served by the Sheriff for a fee (varies by county).

If you need assistance as a landlord filing an eviction or a tenant defending a potential eviction, call us today.

The Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart

Call for a Free Consultation: (305) 590-8909