People are not always perfect, so residential tenancies are also not consistently excellent. Throughout a residential tenancy, a tenant may not always act in a way that the Landlord would want or expect. A Tenant may even contravene certain provisions of the lease. Some Tenants may even violate the law. But when do a Tenant’s actions give rise to a proper eviction, and what should you do as a Landlord or Tenant when facing the issue of a possible eviction? Fortunately, Florida law is reasonably clear on this question and prescribes different procedures for different circumstances.
Tenant’s failure to pay rent:
Perhaps the most common cause of a possible eviction is Tenant’s failure to pay rent. Often under a Lease, a Tenant will have a small grace period– an amount of time after the day the rent is due- to pay the rent. If a Tenant fails to pay rent for a rental period and the grace period expires (if the lease does allow for a grace period), the Landlord can pursue eviction by following the specific procedures outlined in FL. Stat. 83.56.
First, the Landlord needs to provide the Tenant a written 3-day notice via US mail or in-person delivery (if the Tenant is absent from the residence, the Landlord may leave a physical copy of the notice at the residence). In this notice, the Landlord must state that the Tenant’s tenancy will be terminated, which means the Tenant will no longer have rights to live in or on the property. The notice must also state the amount of unpaid rent that the Tenant owes to the Landlord and the address of the leased property.
Tenant’s violation of material lease provision(s) with an opportunity to cure:
As opposed to requiring a 3-day notice, as was the case for non-payment of rent, FL. Stat. 83.56 requires a 7-day notice to evict if the Tenant has breached a material term of the lease or if Tenant has violated the provisions of FL. Stat 83.52. Of course, knowing what a “material term” is would always be helpful. Sometimes it is relatively apparent, but otherwise, the Law Insider online dictionary defines it here.
If a Tenant has materially breached the lease, it must first be determined whether the breach is something that the Tenant should be allowed to cure. Examples of breaches the Tenant should be allowed to cure versus those that the Tenant should not are listed in FL. Stat. 83.56. If the breach is the kind that the Tenant should be allowed to cure, the Landlord must provide to the Tenant a 7-day notice, stating what the specific breach is and telling the Tenant that if the breach is not remedied within 7 days, the Tenant’s tenancy will be terminated. The notice should also include a sentence stating that if the Tenant commits a similar breach in the next 12 months, the tenancy is subject to termination without the Landlord having to provide a 7-day notice. The Landlord must deliver this notice in accordance with FL. Stat 83.56(4) (i.e., in the same way described above).
If the breach is something that the Tenant should not be given an opportunity to cure, the Landlord can deliver the notice to the Tenant specifically detailing the breach and informing the Tenant of the Landlord’s intention to terminate the lease, and that, upon receiving that notice, the Tenant has 7 days to vacate the premises. Notably, the same procedure is required if a Tenant commits a breach within 12 months of committing a similar breach, as mentioned in the last paragraph.
A Tenant and a Landlord should pay close attention to procedures provided by the Florida Statutes if the issue of a potential eviction arises. A Landlord who doesn’t follow these procedures runs a risk of not being able to evict a Tenant. Likewise, a Tenant should always be aware of when a Landlord is allowed to proceed with an eviction and what rules the Landlord must follow.
If you are a Landlord or Tenant dealing with an eviction issue, please contact Siegel & Siegel at 561-620-8200. We look forward to helping you.