October is here and the government issued a moratorium in Florida on residential evictions has been lifted. In other words, if a renter has a lease, and during the COVID-19 pandemic they have been unable to pay said lease, then their landlord now has the legal capacity to evict them.
Florida is going back to normal and as such emergency aid programs and moratoriums are being lifted. Normality, the day to day banality of things, are once more coming into effect. Programs and assisted aid services – like the ERAP – are no longer in play. To put it mildly, our hardships during these trying times once more falls entirely on our shoulders. Renters can, as of October, once more find themselves in a legal bind and on the streets on account of unfulfilled leases and Landlords can once again legally demand the execution of their contracts and their many many binding agreements.
Evictions in Florida
In Florida, a landlord is in his legal right to evict a tenant for multiple reasons, not just because the lease hasn’t been paid. Among those reasons, you can find arguments that encompass millions of scenarios. Basis like having an unauthorized pet in the leased home, to a tenant feeding stray cats – which is illegal in Florida – near the landlord’s property.
The most common reasons for valid, State Law, recognized evictions are:
– Failure to pay rent.
– Undermining local laws.
– End of a lease.
– Damage to rental property.
– Disturbing the peace.
– Lack of basic property maintenance.
– Violation of lease agreement.
But, in essence, due to a variety of loopholes and legal maneuvers, landlords have a lot of leeways available to evict a tenant. In most cases, the court costs alone normally discourage landlords from performing unnecessary evictions. A great deal of the time, landlords and tenants arrive at a compromise – and try to work out on an amicable solution – before resorting to legal means.
When can a Landlord NOT evict?
Tenants cannot be evicted for personal reasons or as a form of retaliation. Also, tenants cannot be evicted without a legally binding court order.
Eviction, normally, is a pretty straightforward procedure and one which the law has seen fit to streamline. Everyone involved during the process is well versed in the method.
The landlord must first terminate the tenancy. The proprietor has a legal requirement to give the tenant legal notice of their decision – for whichever valid reason – to finalize the lease.
If the tenant does not vacate the property, once the lease has been terminated, if they don’t comply with the landlord’s demands, then an eviction lawsuit can be filed. Eviction lawsuits – sometimes referred to as “action for possession” – is the second line of legal defense a proprietor has to vacate a renter and get their property back.
As a whole, Florida gives very specific requirements for a landlord to end their relationship with a renter. There are different types of notices, and actions in place, to smoothly navigate the whole eviction process.
Types of Notices
Three-Day Notice To Pay Or Quit: The landlord gives the tenant a 3 day grace period to settle up and disburse whatever amount is due. If in 3 days, the tenant hasn’t compensated the landlord they have to leave the property or face an eviction lawsuit. This, is in part, is the most harmonious of notices because it partly states that the landlord wishes to continue with the lease so long as the tenant bears the unpaid expenses.
Seven-Day Notice To Cure: The tenant violated the lease in some way and the landlord is now demanding that they correct the nature of said violation. This can be on account of unauthorized pets, disturbing the peace, not properly maintaining the property, or a myriad of other small violations. The tenant is given a week to either fix the infraction, move out, or face an eviction lawsuit.
Seven-Day Unconditional Quit Notice: The landlord informs the tenant that they have seven days to move out or an eviction lawsuit will be enacted. This is the harshest of notices and can only be issued if the tenet intentionally destroys the property, or another tenant’s property, or created unreasonable disturbances, or breaks the law in any way, or repeats the same lease violation within 12 months.
Why Get An Attorney?
If a renter has been served with an eviction, they only have 3 days to respond to it. It’s incredibly important to get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. Tenants that are served a Three-Day Notice To Pay Or Quit must deposit with the court registry the amount the owner has stated that is owed. If there is a dispute concerning this amount, then renters can file a motion to determine the exact figure owed. Attorneys in general always file a motion; not only to clarify the exact import but also to buy their client’s a little bit of extra time during this hard and highly emotional moment.
Landlords also need an attorney to help them fill out the different paperwork, and course the dozens or so eventualities and legal ramifications that a process of this nature might bring about. They must be aware of the cover the law gives them, the do’s and do nots, and the steps required and the different obligations they need to fulfill.
If you need well-founded advice and legal aid from a firm with over 20 years of experience, please get in contact with Carlos Gonzalez Law at (305) 205-5926