Individuals who rent out residential property may find themselves in a difficult financial situation when a tenant refuses to pay. Although landlords in Florida can evict non-paying tenants and others who break the lease terms, you must carefully follow the legal guidelines for this process.

Get the facts about how to legally evict a tenant from a Florida rental home.

Required notice period

When a tenant fails to pay rent on time, provide notice in writing that he or she must either pay in full or leave the home within three business days. Holidays and weekends do not count as part of the three-day notice period.

Your notice letter must include specific information required by Florida law as follows:

  • The date on which the tenant should have paid rent
  • The original due date for the rent payment in question
  • The expiration date for the three-day notice period
  • A statement of their options to either vacate the property or pay rent
  • The date the tenant received notice
  • A statement indicating your intent to sue for unpaid rent if the tenant fails to pay or leave the property

You can send this notice by certified mail, attach it to the rental’s door or give it to your tenant in person.

Process for filing suit

If the tenant does not move out or pay rent, you should file a complaint in the court of the appropriate county. You can also serve your tenant with this complaint by hiring a private process server or county sheriff. After service, your tenant must respond within five days. After five days, the court will schedule a hearing at which you can present evidence such as the signed lease for the property. The judge will determine the validity of your complaint and order the sheriff to evict a nonpaying tenant within 24 hours of the decision.

Remember that you cannot take action against your tenant without a court hearing. This includes turning off utilities, changing the locks or removing personal items from the unit.