Eviction Process in Jacksonville, FL

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Eviction Laws in Jacksonville, FL

April 9, 2020

Looking for how to evict someone in Florida?

You are required to end tenancy prior to filing for an eviction in Florida. You must present your tenant with a notice first. If the tenant fails to comply then you can proceed to the court to begin the eviction procedure. The lawsuit is also termed as an Action for Possession.

You may be wondering: how long does it take to evict someone in Florida? In truth, if an eviction due to non-payment of rent is not contested by the tenant then it could be finished in as little as 2-3 weeks. Otherwise, it could last longer.

Notice for Lease Termination with Legal Cause

Evicting a tenant in Florida can be done for several reasons. Such reasons include:

  • Your tenant has committed a violation of the leasing terms/rental agreement
  • Your tenant has failed to pay monthly rent
  • No existing lease or end of leasing period

Here are some things to remember when sending a lease termination notice in Jacksonville, Florida:

  • If the tenant has not paid monthly rent after the due date, you can send a written 3-day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, also known as a notice of nonpayment, even just a day after the rent is due.
  • If the tenant has committed a minor violation of the lease agreement (such as not observing a degree of cleanliness or causing noise), then you can send a 7-day Notice to Cure or Vacate. However, if the violation is more severe (such as engaging in illegal activity or causing excessive damage to your property) then you can send a written 7-Day Unconditional Quit Notice to leave. This means the tenant has no chance to remedy their behavior or conduct property repair.

Related: Breaking a Lease in Florida

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If you and the tenant have no existing written lease or the lease has ended, then you can send a Lease Termination Notice to the tenant. The notice period is dependent upon the time interval of the lease. For example:

  • A Month-to-month lease requires a 15-day notice to quit
  • A Week-to-Week lease requires a 7-day notice to quit
  • A Quarter-to-Quarter lease requires a 30-day notice to quit
  • A Year-to-Year lease requires a 60-day notice to quit

Note that if the tenant refuses to leave the premises after the lease has terminated, you can begin the eviction process. Here is what a Florida eviction process timeline may look like.

Serving an Eviction in Florida

Florida eviction laws require you to send your tenant the applicable notices before heading to court and filing for an Action of Possession.

Tenant Eviction Defenses in Florida

The defense may argue why you (the petitioner) shouldn’t win the case. A tenant may claim:

  • Your eviction notice contains errors, such as a lack of essential information. This could mean it doesn't detail the specific date a tenant must move out.
  • Your eviction was retaliatory in nature, meaning you are trying to evict them because they complained to the appropriate government agency about a violation. This could refer to ignoring a building, housing or health code standard set by Florida.
  • You are guilty of violating the Fair Housing Act and the Florida Fair Housing Act by discriminating against a tenant.
  • You are guilty of negligence of your landlord duties, and have failed to maintain your property.
  • You’re guilty of engaging in self-help eviction procedures. The tenant may complain you had cut off utilities or changed the locks to force them to move out.

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Attending Court Hearing

Under Florida Law, you must file a complaint at the applicable County court. The County Sheriff will then serve the Summons and Complaint to the tenant, who will be given 5 days to respond.

If the tenant does not contest the eviction, you may file for a Judgment for Possession.

However, if the tenant decides to contest the eviction, the court will ask them to pay the outstanding rent. If there are disputes to the amount, they can file at the court to determine the correct rent dues.

Should the tenant fail to appear in court, the decision will be made in favor to the landlord.

Writ of Possession

The Judge may issue a Writ of Possession. Deciding on the eviction may take several days, and so may the issuing of the Writ of Possession. Afterwards, it is the responsibility of the County Sheriff to serve it to your tenant.

The Writ of Possession represents a final notice to the tenant to pack up their belongings and move out. Under Florida Law, they are given 24 hours to do so before the Sheriff arrives at the property.

Related: Overview of Florida Security Deposit Laws

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The Eviction

If the tenant still refuses to leave the premises at this point, the Sheriff will have to forcibly remove them.

Conclusion

This is only a brief outline of how to evict a tenant in Florida.

If you have specific questions, hire the services of a qualified Florida attorney. Alternatively, you can seek help from a knowledgeable property management company

Contact Innovative Property Solutions at (904) 321-9020 to help you sort out the Florida eviction process legally.

Note that this blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in Florida. Laws frequently change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.  

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(904) 321-9020

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