Laws in Florida allow a landlord to evict a tenant for violating a portion of the lease or rental agreement. Examples of lease violations include having pets when none are allowed or destroying part of the rental unit, .
This article explains the how a tenant can be evicted for lease violations under the Florida Landlord and Tenant Statutes.
Types of Lease Violations in Florida and Timing for Each
There are two different types of lease violations in Florida: curable violations and incurable violations. Both types of violations have slightly different procedures for the landlord to follow when trying to evict a tenant.
Curable Lease Violations
A curable lease violation means that the tenant could have an opportunity to fix the violation. Some examples of curable lease violations include having a dog when no pets are allowed, parking in an unauthorized parking spot, and failing to keep the premises clean and sanitary.
A landlord can give a tenant a seven-day eviction notice as soon as the landlord is aware of the lease violation. When the lease violation is of the type that it can be remedied, or cured, the landlord must give the tenant an opportunity to either fix the violation or move out. The tenant will have seven days to do this.
If the tenant fixes the lease violation within the seven days and then does the same or similar violation within a twelve-month period, the landlord can evict the tenant without giving the tenant the opportunity to remedy the violation. The violation would then become incurable (see Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83.56(2)(b)).
Incurable Lease Violations
An incurable lease violation means that the tenant will not have an opportunity to fix the violation. This is either because the violation is of a nature that it cannot be fixed (such as willful destruction or damage to the rental unit) or because the tenant has repeatedly violated the lease after being told to fix the violation (such as repeatedly parking in an unauthorized parking spot).
Upon learning of the lease violation, the landlord can immediately give the tenant a seven-day eviction notice. The tenant's only option in this case will be to move out of the rental unit (see Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83.56(2)(a)).
Information Included in Each Type of Florida Eviction Notice
Eviction notices in Florida must be written and include specific information. Eviction notices for curable lease violations will be slightly different from eviction notices for incurable lease violations. In addition to the different statements noted below, it is best practice for each eviction notice to also include the following information:
- date the notice was give to the tenant(s)
- name(s) and address of tenant(s) rental unit
- an ultimatum that the landlord may pursue legal action (an eviction lawsuit) if the tenant does not fix the violation, if possible, or move, and
- a statement specifying how the notice was given to the tenant, either by actually giving the notice to the tenant or by mailing the notice.
Additional Statement to be Included in Florida Eviction Notice for Curable Lease Violations
An eviction notice for a curable lease violation must include the following statement per :
"You are hereby notified that (cite the noncompliance). Demand is hereby made that you remedy the noncompliance within 7 days of receipt of this notice or your lease shall be deemed terminated and you shall vacate the premises upon such termination. If this same conduct or conduct of a similar nature is repeated within 12 months, your tenancy is subject to termination without your being given an opportunity to cure the noncompliance."
Additional Statement to be Included in Florida Eviction Notice for Incurable Lease Violations
An eviction notice for an incurable lease violation must include the following statement:
"You are advised that your lease is terminated effective immediately. You shall have 7 days from the delivery of this letter to vacate the premises. This action is taken because (cite the noncompliance)."
Serving Eviction Notices in Florida
The landlord has three options for serving the eviction 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 seven-day notice by regular mail, registered mail, or certified mail. If the landlord mails the notice, then it is best for the landlord to request a return receipt.
3. If the landlord is unable to give the notice directly to the tenant, the landlord can leave the seven-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 seven-day notice will not be in effect until the landlord properly serves the tenant in one of the three ways listed above.
Tenant Options for Responding to Eviction Notice in Florida
The tenant has a few options when deciding to respond to an eviction notice:
- If the tenant is given the opportunity to fix the lease violation, and does so within the seven-day time period, then the landlord cannot proceed with the eviction (see Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83-56(5)). If the tenant violates the lease again in the same manner within twelve months, then the landlord must repeat the eviction process, but the landlord does not have to give the tenant the option to fix the violation the next time.
- If the tenant moves out within seven days, the landlord may use the tenant’s security deposit (if any) to cover any damages to the rental property. If the security deposit does not cover all the damages, then the landlord can sue the tenant to cover the remaining cost of the damages. Fla. Stat. Ann. §83-49 gives detailed instruction on how the landlord must use the security deposit and how to properly notify the tenant of its use.
- If the tenant does not fix the lease violation (if given the option) or move out within the seven-day time frame, then the landlord can proceed to file a summons and complaint with the county court to gain possession of the property (see Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83-59).
The Nolo article Tenant Defenses to Eviction Notices in Florida provides advice for tenants who want to fight an eviction.
Eviction Lawsuits in Florida
In order to legally evict the tenant, the landlord must successfully win the eviction lawsuit in court. Then an officer of the law will take possession of the property and give it back to the landlord. 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 eviction complaint forms for Florida, see Landlord Tenant forms 5, 6, and 7 on the Florida State Bar website.
More on Florida Landlord-Tenant Laws
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.