As a landlord in Ocala, Florida, it is important to understand the laws surrounding residential evictions. It is crucial to understand the different types of tenancies, the reasons for eviction, and the eviction process. This comprehensive guide, brought to you by The Florida Legal Advocacy Group, P.A., will provide you with the information you need to navigate the eviction process in Florida.
Types of Tenancies
There are two main types of tenancies in Florida: leasehold tenancies and tenancies at will. A leasehold tenancy is a rental agreement that specifies the amount of rent, terms of the tenancy, and a specific period of time, usually one year. A tenancy at will is an agreement between the landlord and tenant that does not have a specific end date and is not governed by a written lease.
Leasehold tenancies offer more stability and predictability for both landlords and tenants, while tenancies at will are more flexible and can be terminated by either party with little notice. It is important to understand the type of tenancy you have to know your rights and obligations as a tenant or landlord.
Reasons for Eviction
In Florida, landlords may seek to evict tenants for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons for eviction include:
- Nonpayment of Rent: If a tenant fails to pay rent, a landlord may begin eviction proceedings. The landlord must provide the tenant with a three-day notice to pay rent or vacate the premises. If the tenant fails to pay rent or vacate the premises within the three-day notice period, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court.
- Violation of Lease Terms: If a tenant violates any of the terms of the lease, such as having pets when they are not allowed, a landlord may begin eviction proceedings. The landlord must provide the tenant with a seven-day notice to cure the violation or vacate the premises. If the tenant fails to cure the violation or vacate the premises within the seven-day notice period, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court.
- Illegal Activity: If a tenant engages in illegal activities on the property, a landlord may begin eviction proceedings. The landlord can provide the tenant with a seven-day notice to vacate the premises. If the tenant fails to vacate the premises within the seven-day notice period, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court.
- Expired Lease: If a lease has expired and the tenant refuses to leave, a landlord may begin eviction proceedings.
It is important to note that in some cases, tenants have the right to cure the alleged violation after the appropriate notice has been served by the landlord. If the tenant cures the violation, the landlord cannot proceed with the eviction process.
The Eviction Process
If a landlord wishes to evict a tenant, they must follow a specific process outlined by Florida law. The first step is to serve the tenant with a written notice to vacate the property. The notice must provide the tenant with a specific amount of time to vacate the property, typically three days for nonpayment of rent, seven days for lease violations, or another timeframe depending on the tenancy. If the tenant does not vacate the property within the specified time frame, the landlord may file an eviction lawsuit with the court.
The landlord must file a complaint with the appropriate court and serve the tenant with a copy of the complaint and a summons. The tenant has five days to respond to the complaint. If the tenant fails to respond or appears in court and the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a writ of possession will be issued. The writ of possession gives the landlord the legal right to take possession of the property and remove the tenant.
If the tenant does not leave the property voluntarily after the writ of possession has been issued, the sheriff’s office may be called to remove the tenant and their belongings from the property. The sheriff’s office will post a notice on the door of the property and provide the tenant with 24 hours to remove their belongings before they are removed by the sheriff’s office.
It is important to note that a landlord cannot evict a tenant as a form of retaliation or discrimination. For example, a landlord cannot evict a tenant for filing a complaint with a government agency or for exercising their legal rights. Additionally, a landlord cannot change the locks or shut off utilities in an attempt to force a tenant out of the property.
Residential evictions in Florida are governed by specific laws and procedures that must be followed by landlords and tenants. It is important for landlords to understand the legal process for evicting tenants. If you are a landlord seeking to evict a tenant, it is recommended that you consult with a qualified attorney in Ocala, Florida, such as The Florida Legal Advocacy Group, P.A. to ensure that your rights are protected and that you are following the proper legal procedures.