Are you contemplating an eviction lawsuit? If you have been served an eviction notice and are considering pursuing a lawsuit, it’s important to know whether or not you have a leg to stand on. The best way to find this out is to consult with a real estate attorney directly. In the meantime, though, we’re going to look at a few determining factors to see whether you have a leg to stand on in court.
Eviction Lawsuit: Do You Have a Leg to Stand On?
We’ll say it again because it is important – the information provided in this post is informational and may or may not apply to your individual circumstances. To get personalized legal advice, consult with a real estate attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.
Now, with that said, here are a few things to consider…
Has Your Landlord Terminated Tenancy?
Before your landlord can evict you, they must first terminate your tenancy. This is done by serving you with written notice of termination. How this written notice is formatted depends on your state laws.
In Florida, there are different types of notices that must be provided depending on the situation.
Termination with Cause
Termination with cause means that your landlord has a cause for terminating your tenancy. This can be done for various reasons including a failure to pay rent, violating the lease or rental agreement, or committing an illegal act.
- If you have failed to pay rent, your landlord must give you three BUSINESS days’ notice to pay the rent owed or move out of the property. If you do neither of these, your landlord can legally terminate your tenancy and file an eviction notice with the court.
- If you have violated your lease or rental agreement but the violation is something that can be remedied, your landlord should give you seven days to remedy the situation. If you do not remedy the situation, your landlord can file an eviction notice with the court.
- If you have violated your lease or rental agreement but the violation is not something that can be remedied, your landlord may serve an “unconditional quit notice”. With this type of notice, your landlord can begin the eviction process within seven business days if you have not moved out of the property by then. It’s important to know that an “unconditional quit notice” may only be utilized when a tenant has damaged the rental property or the property of other tenants, when the same violation of the lease has occurred for a second time within 12 months, or if the tenant has been creating unreasonable disturbances.
Termination Without Cause
Termination without cause is exactly as it sounds – you have given your landlord no specific cause for your eviction, but they wish to terminate your tenancy. Termination without cause can be done on a month to month rental agreement or on a fixed-length rental agreement but the processes for each type of termination differ.
- In the case of termination without cause for a month to month rental agreement, your landlord must provide 15 business days notice of their termination of the lease. This means that you have 15 business days to vacate the property.
- In the case of termination without cause for a fixed term rental agreement, your landlord must wait until the end of the specified rental period before they can terminate your tenancy. Once your rental agreement comes to an end, your landlord does not have to give you a termination of tenancy notice unless your rental agreement specifically indicates that they must.
Failure to Provide Proper Notice
If your landlord does not abide by the regulations outlined above when dealing with your eviction, you can fight your eviction.
If your landlord tries to forcefully remove you from your rental unit, you can fight your eviction. Your landlord may NOT physically remove you from the property at any time. Even if the landlord wins their eviction case in court, only a constable or sheriff can remove a tenant from a property in the case of eviction.
Should You Fight An Eviction?
When facing eviction, your first instinct may be to fight with any reason you can find. It’s important to set those emotions aside, however, and consider what it will mean to fight your eviction.
- You will have to pay for court/attorney fees to fight your eviction.
- If you lose the fight against eviction, you may also have to pay the attorney and court costs of your landlord as well.
- Fighting your eviction can be a stressful process. While your case may seem black and white to you, it’s not always seen the same way by the court system.
- Ultimately, even if you win your case against eviction, what will come of it? This is important to consider because you need to weigh the benefits versus the drawbacks of heading to court. The best way to answer this question is to flat out ask your attorney – do I have a case? If I have a case what do I stand to gain if I win the case?
Do You Need Eviction Lawsuit Help In Or Around St. Pete?
If you need legal assistance with an eviction lawsuit and you’re in or around St. Pete, Florida, Weidner Law can help. Just give our office a call today at 727-954-8752.