Florida Eviction Notice? Don’t Panic: Prepare Yourself with a Florida Evictions Attorney
Worrying about an impending eviction – or worse, coming home to find an eviction notice on the door – could throw anyone into an understandable state of panic. But with the right legal knowledge and expertise, even a difficult situation like this can be managed and ultimately lead to a positive outcome.
Experienced eviction lawyers for tenants in Florida have helped thousands of people defend their right to stay where they are and to fight a landlord’s attempt to force them out of their rental. In many cases, tenants are protected by Florida’s strict eviction laws, which require landlords to take several specific steps before legally evicting a tenant.
To start, it’s essential for every renter to know what a landlord does not have the power to do and how to respond if they do it anyway. These illegal actions include:
Turning off a tenant’s utilities
Changing the locks on the tenant’s home
Removing property, doors, or windows from the tenant’s home.
Any tenant who has experienced these actions have the right to report their landlord to the police and file a lawsuit in court for damages associated with these illegal actions. To win this type of lawsuit and maximize compensation, the tenant should contact a skilled evictions attorney.
A Legal Eviction Requires All of the Following Steps:
The landlord gives the tenant a written notice to vacate. If the notice is failure to pay rent, the tenant has three business days (not including holidays or the day that the notice is delivered) to pay in full whatever amount is owed. If the tenant does this, the landlord is legally barred from proceeding with the eviction process. If the reason for the notice is a failure on the tenant’s part to adhere to one or more terms of the lease, then the tenant has days within which to correct the problem; if they do so within that time frame, the landlord cannot continue with the eviction process. Notwithstanding, a seven-day notice to vacate does not allow the tenant time to cure. This notice is used when the tenant damages property; creates unreasonable disturbances; or repeats a violation within 12 months of a written warning.
The landlord initiates a lawsuit against the tenant. When a tenant does not fix the curable issue within the required time frame and does not move out, the landlord has to file a lawsuit to continue with the eviction. As part of this process, the tenant must be served with a summons and complaint, notifying them of the suit. Suppose a tenant receives legal papers regarding an eviction. In that case, they should immediately speak with a Florida evictions lawyer who can help them write their time-sensitive response, as described in step three.
The tenant has five days to file a written response with the Clerk of Court and provide a copy of this response to the landlord. Included in this written statement should be the tenant’s defense (i.e., why they should not be evicted or believe they are being wrongfully evicted). If the eviction is for non-payment of rent and the tenant disagrees with the amount past due, the tenant can file a motion to determine rent but must deposit the disputed rent into the Court Registry.
There is a hearing in court. If the eviction process moves to court, both the tenant and landlord will have an opportunity to present their case before a judge who will either grant or deny the eviction. Failure by a tenant to attend this court date means that the landlord will automatically win the case.
The court issues a final 24-hour eviction notice (also called a writ of possession). If the judge grants the eviction, the tenant will have 24 hours to vacate the property before they can be forcibly removed from it by the landlord or law enforcement. If the tenant does not move their belongings and leaves the property within those 24 hours, the landlord has the legal right to change or remove the locks. Tenant Defenses to Evictions in Florida Understanding that these steps are mandatory and knowing how they need to be executed to meet the requirements is key to building a solid defense for any tenant facing possible eviction. A defense can be built in any case where the landlord has made one or more (even small) missteps in their attempt to evict a tenant. Exploring the possible defenses that apply to a particular situation is best done with the help of a qualified wrongful evictions attorney. Stop eviction proceedings, sue for wrongful conviction, and seek an eviction removal from your record with the seasoned eviction lawyers at DeMicco-Nadler, LLC in Florida.