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An eviction is a legal process a landlord must use to remove a tenant from a rental house, apartment, or room.
Florida county courts typically have exclusive jurisdiction over proceedings relating to evictions and to the forcible or unlawful detention of lands. However, the circuit court will have jurisdiction if the amount in controversy exceeds $15,000.00 or the circuit court otherwise has jurisdiction of the matter pursuant to Florida Statute.
Under Florida law, the landlord is not entitled to evict a tenant unless the landlord has given the tenant a three-day notice to pay the rent or leave the premises, or whatever notice the lease requires. This is true whether the lease is oral or written. The notice must demand the exact amount of rent owed. It typically should not include late fees, attorneys’ fees or any other charges. It is absolutely critical to comply with the time constraints of the pre-suit notice. If a three day notice is required, it must exclude holidays and weekends.
Other eviction steps can include:
Complaint & Summons
After the three day notice expires, the landlord can file suit. The tenant then has a specific time frame to respond.
Service of Process
The summons will be served by the sheriff or a private process server. If the tenant cannot be personally served, the summons may be posted on the premises.
Failure of the tenant to comply with his or her obligations may result in a final judgment being entered.
Writ of Possession
In the case of final judgment, the clerk will issue a writ of possession to the sheriff who will post it on the property.
A landlord cannot remove a tenant without process by:
If any of these things occur a tenant may have a valid cause of action for wrongful eviction, trespass or civil theft.
Tenants often have valid defenses to eviction actions. However, the defense that the landlord failed to maintain the premises is rarely effective. For that defense to work, certain steps must be taken in advance of the tenant’s rent payment default. In fact, if rent has not been paid to the landlord or into the court’s registry, the tenant can usually do little more than delay the eviction. That being said, any delay can be costly to the landlord who seeks to regain and re-let the premises as quickly possible.
The Tampa eviction attorneys at our firm have helped countless landlords in Tampa eviction cases. Call us today for assistance with your Tampa Bay eviction case.