If a tenant does not pay rent in Florida, then a landlord can evict the tenant from the rental unit. A tenant will have three days after receiving the eviction notice to either pay the rent or leave the property.
This article explains how to evict a tenant in Florida for nonpayment of rent according to the Florida state landlord-tenant statutes.
Rent Due Dates in Florida
Rent is generally due on the first day of every month, including weekends and holidays, unless a different date is specified in the lease or rental agreement. Some landlords may agree in the lease or rental agreement that rent will be due on the next business day if the due date falls on a weekend or holiday.
Timing of Eviction Notices for Failure to Pay Rent in Florida
If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, then the landlord can give the tenant a three-day notice for failure to pay rent, or a notice similarly named. The tenant then has three days to pay the rent or leave the rental property. The three days begins on the date the notice is delivered to the tenant. Weekends and legal holidays are not included in this three-day time period (see Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83-56(3)). This means that if rent is due on a Thursday and the landlord gives the tenant the three-day notice for failure to pay rent the next day (Friday), then the tenant would have until the following Wednesday to either pay rent or move out of the rental unit.
Information Included in Florida Three-Day Notices
In Florida, the three-day notice for failure to pay rent must be written and include the following statement:
"You are hereby notified that you are indebted to me in the sum of ___ dollars for the rent and use of the premises (address of leased premises, including county), Florida, now occupied by you and that I demand payment of the rent or possession of the premises within 3 days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) from the date of delivery of this notice, to wit: on or before the __ day of ___ , (year).
(landlord’s name, address and phone number)."
This statement comes directly from the Florida state law governing three-day notices to evict tenants and must be included in the eviction notice given to the tenant (see Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83-56(3)).
It is best for the three-day notice to include the following information as well:
- date the notice was served on the tenant(s)
- an ultimatum that the landlord may pursue legal action (an eviction lawsuit) if the tenant does pay the rent or move, and
- a statement specifying how the notice was given to the tenant, either by actually giving the notice to the tenant or mailing the notice.
A sample three-day notice for failure to pay rent can be found at the Florida State Bar website.
Serving Three-Day Notices in Florida
The landlord has three options for serving the three-day 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 three-day notice by regular mail, registered mail, or certified mail. If the landlord mails the notice, then it is best for the landlord needs to request a return receipt.
3. If the landlord is unable to give the notice directly to the tenant, the landlord can leave the three-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 three-day notice will not be in effect until the landlord properly serves the tenant in one of the three ways listed above.
Tenant Options When Served With a Three-Day Notice in Florida
What happens next depends on the tenant’s response to the three-day notice:
- If the tenant pays the rent within the three-day time period, then the landlord cannot proceed with the eviction (see Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83-56(5)). If the tenant fails to pay rent in the future, the landlord must repeat the entire eviction process.
- If the tenant does not pay the rent, but moves out within three days, the landlord may use the tenant’s security deposit (if any) to cover the unpaid rent. If the security deposit does not cover all the rent due and owing, including late charges, then the landlord can sue the tenant for the rent still owed. 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 pay the full rent within the three-day time period and does not move out of the property, 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).
Eviction Lawsuits in Florida Court
The landlord must successfully win the eviction case in the court before an officer of the law can legally take possession of the property. 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 complaint forms for eviction and recovery of rent in Florida, see the Florida State Bar website, forms 5, 5a, and 7.
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.