In Florida, a landlord can evict a tenant for a variety of reasons, but the landlord must terminate the tenancy first. The landlord terminates the tenancy by giving the tenant written notice, as required by state law. If the tenant does not comply with the written notice, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit (also sometimes called an "action for possession").
Florida law gives specific requirements to end a tenancy. Different types of notices and procedures are needed for different situations.
A termination "for cause" means that the landlord has a reason to end the tenancy early (before the term of the lease or rental agreement is over). In Florida, a landlord can terminate a tenancy early and evict a tenant for a number of different reasons, including not paying rent, violating the lease or rental agreement, or committing an illegal act. To terminate the tenancy, the landlord must first give the tenant written notice. The type of notice will be determined by the reason for the termination.
You are hereby notified that you are indebted to me in the sum of _____ dollars for the rent and use of the premises [insert 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 [date] day of [month], [year]. [Insert landlord's name, address, and phone number.]
If the tenant doesn't pay rent or move by the deadline, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (Fla. Stat. § 83.56(3) (2022).)
You are hereby notified that [describe the violation]. 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 further warning and without your being given an opportunity to cure the noncompliance.
If the tenant doesn't meet the deadline, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. (Fla. Stat. § 83.56(2)(b) (2022).)
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 [explain the noncompliance].
(Fla. Stat. § 83.56(2)(a) (2022).)
The Florida bar association has forms that you can use to terminate a tenancy on its website.
A landlord doesn't have a reason to end the tenancy early when a tenant is current with rent and hasn't materially violated the terms of the tenancy. In this situation, the landlord's method of ending the tenancy depends on whether the tenancy is month-to-month or for a fixed term (such as a year).
A Florida landlord can terminate without cause a month-to-month tenancy by giving the tenant a written notice at least 15 days before the end of the monthly period. The notice must inform the tenant that the tenancy will end in 15 days and that the tenant must move out of the rental unit by that time. (Fla. Stat. § 83.57 (2022).)
Landlords can't terminate fixed-term tenancies without cause—they must wait until the term of the tenancy ends. Then, it's simply a matter of not renewing the tenant's lease. And, unless the lease states otherwise, Florida landlords don't have to give tenants notice that the lease isn't being renewed. For example, if the tenant has a lease for one year that expires in December and the tenant hasn't requested a lease renewal, the landlord won't need to give the tenant notice to move by the end of December unless the lease specifically requires it.
Florida law requires landlords to mail termination notices to tenants. If the tenant no longer lives at the rental, the landlord can leave a copy of the notice at the rental. (Fla. Stat. § 83.56(4) (2022).) If your tenant isn't at the rental anymore, but you know the address where the tenant currently lives, it's a good idea to send it there, too. Always keep a copy of the notice and notes of when you sent it.
A tenant can choose to fight an eviction. This would increase the amount of time the eviction lawsuit takes. The tenant might have several valid defenses, such as the landlord making procedural mistakes during the eviction (for example, improperly serving a notice or not waiting long enough before filing the eviction lawsuit). Some other potential tenant defenses include the landlord's failure to maintain the rental unit according to law or the landlord discriminating against the tenant.
Landlords must never take self-help measures, such as locking a tenant out or forcibly removing the tenant. The only lawful way to remove a tenant from a rental property is to follow the termination procedures above, and then get an eviction order from a court. Only a law enforcement officer—such as a sheriff—can physically remove a tenant from a rental. Taking illegal self-help measures can have serious consequences.
If personal property is left behind after a tenant moves out or is evicted, the landlord must notify the tenant in writing. The notice must:
A sample abandoned property notice can be found at Florida Statute section 715.105 (2022). If the tenant does not claim the property by the deadline, the landlord can either sell the property or dispose of it. (Fla. Stat. §§ 715.10 through 715.111 (2022).)
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