Most Orlando property managers would agree that evictions should be rare. If you have effectively screened your tenants, developed a good relationship with them, and established a consistent rent collection process that encourages on-time payments, evictions should be uncommon.
Sometimes, you’re left with no choice. If a tenant is not paying rent or won’t come into compliance with the lease agreement, or you’ve discovered illegal activity going on in the home, you’ll need to remove that tenant in order to protect your property and your rental income.
Since the pandemic-era eviction moratorium ended, landlords have been eager to evict the tenants who are not performing. There are a lot of renters out there willing and able to pay the rising rents in Orlando and throughout central Florida. There’s no reason to keep a tenant who will not pay and will not work with you on getting caught up.
Here is what the eviction process looks like in Florida, and how you should handle each step.
Communicate With Your Tenant
Before you do anything, make a good faith effort to reach your tenant. Find out if there’s any chance of getting into a payment schedule or catching up. If this is a one-time, unexpected financial setback, they should be able to recover quickly enough that you don’t have to go to court right away.
If it’s a tenant who has been having problems for a while, there may be no hope that they can get caught up. But, you may be able to work something out where you cancel the lease agreement and get them moved out without having to go through a formal eviction.
Serving a Three Day Notice to Orlando Tenants
When you’re not getting any type of cooperation from your tenants and you want the rent to be paid immediately, serve a Three Day Notice. You’ll have to post this at the property or serve it to your tenants in person. You can also send a copy through the regular mail or even by email.
This notice alerts your tenants that they have three days to catch up with the overdue rent or leave the property. Tenants who want to stay in the home will pay or contact you about when they’ll pay. Tenants who are likely to drag the process out as long as they can will not respond, and you’ll have to move towards the next steps unless they vacate the property (which is unlikely).
Court Process for Florida Evictions
After the notice period has expired, you’ll need to decide if you want to file for an eviction in court.
This involves some paperwork and a fee. Then, you wait for your tenants to be served with a Summons and Complaint. In Florida, tenants can only contest the eviction at this point if they go to the county clerk where the eviction was filed and pay the amount that’s owed. A hearing may be scheduled in court if the tenants do respond to the Complaint with a counterclaim or any other legal response. At that point, you’ll be given a court date.
If the tenants do not respond at all, the judge will ultimately order a Writ of Possession and you can work with the sheriff on re-entering your property, taking possession, and changing the locks.
Once in court, the judge will hear what you have to say and they’ll give the tenants a chance to provide some kind of argument against eviction. Unless you have somehow violated the lease agreement or retaliated against them, you’ll likely get your Writ of Possession. The tenants will be given a specific timeframe for leaving the property.
This is the eviction process for nonpayment of rent, which is the most common reason people evict. If you’re evicting for another reason, the process may be slightly different.
It’s easy to make a mistake during evictions and we always recommend working with an attorney or an Orlando property manager. You can contact us at Park Avenue Property Management if you have any questions. We lease, manage, and maintain residential rental homes throughout central Florida, including Orlando, Lake Buena Vista, Kissimmee, Celebration, Maitland, Altamonte Springs, West Palm Beach, and Tampa Bay.