If you own property and there’s someone living in there that you have not rented that property to, and you’ve determined that they’re a squatter, so they’re using that property as their own home, however, you have no landlord/tenant relationship, you’ll want to start summary procedure or eviction proceedings in order to remove that squatter.
Many times I’m asked this question by landlords because they are under the impression that they cannot evict someone, or a tenant, if there is no lease agreement. This isn’t correct. What the landlord has established with a tenant when there’s no lease is probably an oral agreement, and the landlord has the absolute right to start an eviction process for nonpayment of rent, for instance, or termination of the oral tenancy agreement.
If you own property and you let your boyfriend or girlfriend reside there and they’re not paying rent, you actually can evict them. It’s a little bit of a different procedure. It’s called an ejectment. This is not the typical scenario, however it does happen from time to time. The process will take a little longer and it is a little bit more complicated, so if you’re not sure on how to approach the subject, you may want to consult with an attorney.
If your tenant has stopped paying rent, you have a legal right to start the eviction process. However, the first thing you will want to do is provide them with a notice to pay the rent or vacate the premises before you start that process.
I get this question asked probably at least two times a day, if not three times a day, and it’s a great question. Typically, in Florida, the eviction process will take somewhere between three and four weeks from start to finish. That’s once filing is made and up to the writ of possession. It can sometimes be a little quicker, but because we have summary procedure in Florida, it’s generally going to take that long.
In Florida the legal grounds for eviction generally are going to be one of three different scenarios. The first is that the landlord is faced with a tenant that stops paying the rent. That would be a eviction for nonpayment. The second scenario generally is, say, the landlord does not have a lease, a written lease agreement with the tenant, they may want to terminate that. It would be a termination on the lease agreement. The other scenario which doesn’t happen as often, however, it is a ground for eviction, is when the tenant perhaps has violated provision of the lease agreement and has not cured that, so the tenant would be evicting on a noncompliance eviction.
In Florida, if the tenant has not left after the lease has expired, they are considered a holdover tenant. The landlord actually has the legal right and ability to then start an eviction process to remove that tenant.
A three-day notice is a notice that the landlord is going to provide to the tenant when the tenant has failed to pay the rent. What it does is it gives the opportunity to the tenant to pay the rent within three days. Now, that three days does not include the day of service, weekends or holidays. The landlord will want to provide that notice to the tenant giving that tenant an opportunity within those three days to pay the rent before the landlord can start the eviction process.
A route of possession is the actual last stage of the eviction process. It’s actually the court order ordering the tenants out of the property. It’s the time when the sheriff will actually go to the property, let the tenants know they have 24 hours to vacate, and it gives law enforcement the ability to physically, if needed, remove those tenants from the property.
The tenant stopped paying now what?
When a landlord is faced with the issue of a non-paying tenant unless the tenant voluntarily moves out and gives possession back to the landlord the landlord will most likely need to file a lawsuit for eviction against the tenant to remove the tenant and get possession back.
Not only is the landlord dealing with the financial stress from the loss of rental income but now the landlord must figure out the legal eviction process.
Many landlords chose to file the eviction Pro Se that is they represent themselves. The Florida Supreme Court has provided self-help forms.
The Pinellas County Clerk of Court also provides a self-help center.
Check with Clerk of Court in your county as they may offer self-help forms as well in getting the process started.
It is always prudent that the landlord understands the Landlord Tenant Act before proceeding in the eviction process.
The first and most critical step in the eviction process is the Three (3) Day Notice. The notice informs the tenant that they are delinquent in their rent and also demands that the rent be paid within 3 days after receiving the notice (not including weekends or legal holidays).
What happens if the tenant does not pay the rent within the 3 days? Failure to pay the rent within the 3 day window will give the landlord the legal right to proceed forward with filing the eviction suit against the tenant.
As mentioned before the 3 day notice is absolutely critical because the notice provides and affords the tenant the ability to cure the default prior to the landlord moving forward with an eviction. In my experience most landlords would rather the tenant pay within the 3 days then file an eviction.
When filling out the 3 day notice the landlord must be careful to properly fill in all the required information in the notice. The notice will be attached to the actual eviction complaint so any error in the notice can delay the legal process or possibly cause the case to be dismissed.