If you are currently facing eviction, there are some things you should know to properly navigate your Florida eviction defense. Fortunately, here at WeidnerLaw, we have extensive experience working with eviction defense cases, so we’re going to share a few tips with you today.

Florida Eviction Defense: What You Need to Know As An Evictee

With the COVID-19 economy crisis, many families are facing heartbreaking decisions – groceries or utilities? Medications or rent? To make it worse, the ultimatums keep coming.

One more unfortunate consequence of the Post-COVID-19 fallout that many families in Florida are dealing with that is making things next to impossible for them, is eviction. So let’s take a look at what you need to know…

Termination of Tenancy

In the state of Florida before beginning the eviction process, a landlord must issue a termination of tenancy. A termination of tenancy is simply a written notice that terminates any residency contract with a tenant of the property and the landlord of that property. This termination also asks the tenant to vacate the property. The number of days given for a tenant to vacate before the eviction process is started varies depending on a number of factors but primarily the existing tenancy contract with the landlord.

Termination of tenancy may be carried out “with cause” or “without cause”.

It’s also important to know that a termination of tenancy MUST follow proper state regulations in order to be considered valid.

Two Categories for Termination of Residence

There are two categories for termination when filing for eviction – Notice for Termination with Cause and Notice for Termination Without Cause.

Termination with cause encompasses circumstances where the landlord has proper cause to require a tenant to leave a property – for example, if they fail to pay rent. In short, this is when the tenant violates the tenancy agreement in some way.

Termination without cause encompasses circumstances where the landlord has no proper cause to require the tenant to leave the property. For example, when a tenant has a month to month lease and the landlord no longer wants to rent out the property.

The Eviction Process in Florida

If a resident of the property does not respond to a properly formatted termination of residency, the landlord may then begin the eviction process.

  • This begins by having a sheriff or process server serve a summons and complaint to the tenant in question.
  • Tenants must then be given a timeframe in which they can respond to the complaint against them.
  • Based on information received from the landlord and tenant, a court will then decide whether the eviction is granted or denied.
  • If the court allows for the eviction to go ahead, a writ of possession is then posted by the court which gives the landlord the go-ahead on the eviction process. The writ of possession gives tenants 24 hours to vacate the property after which a sheriff may enforce eviction and padlock the door of the property.
  • It is possible for a tenant to fight the eviction through the courts, but in virtually all cases, this requires a reputable and experienced real estate attorney.

What You HAVE to Know As An Evictee

  • Fighting an eviction case gives you more time before eviction takes place.
  • Your landlord should NEVER try to physically remove you from a property if they are granted the eviction by the courts. In fact, in Florida, it is ILLEGAL for a landlord to attempt to force a tenant from their retail unit themselves.
  • There are many reasons that you can fight eviction including a landlord’s failure to maintain the rental unit according to legal requirements. These reasons are generally referred to as your “eviction defense”.
  • Your landlord MUST notify you in writing if you left any personal property on the property after your eviction and the end of tenancy. You must be given 10 days to claim that property if your notice of “abandoned property” was delivered in person or 15 days if the notice was mailed to you.
  • If your landlord holds onto “abandoned” personal property for you during the time periods stated above, you may be charged a “reasonable” storage fee which goes directly to your landlord.

How Long Does Eviction Take?

There is no definitive answer to this question because the time frames for each step of the process differ depending on the particular circumstances of the situation as well as whether you intend to fight against the eviction in court.

When Should You Hire a Florida Eviction Defense Attorney?

So, when should you be looking into hiring a Florida eviction defense attorney to help you with your eviction case?

  • If your landlord is evicting you without following the necessary protocols outlined by the state.
  • If your landlord is evicting you based on false accusations or personal grudges or personal likes/dislikes.
  • If your landlord tries to physically remove you from the property.
  • If your landlord tries to force you to evict the property by devious methods – such as shutting off your utilities.
  • Your landlord has been neglectful as a landlord and failed to make any necessary repairs or maintenance on the property before seeking to evict you.

These are only a few examples, but if you have questions about whether a defense attorney could help in your situation, pick up the phone and give us a call at 727-954-8752 and ask! We’ll do all we can to put you on the right track so that you and your family don’t experience any unnecessary inconveniences.

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