I was summoned to court after carrying out what I thought was due process for a tenant who had a month to month agreement. Under Florida law either party can give notice to vacate with 15 days notice. So I have tried to work with this tenant for several months and finally decided that I would issue the 15 days notice to tenant, this was done by a company who does evictions and all processes done appropriately;. notice was served, tenant had 15 days to vacate, on June 1st tenant would be considered a holdover and a writ of possession would be filed. Writ of possession filed, tenants responded to the notice to vacate and the judge orders we both appear in court. The judicial order is written as a hearing, MOTION TO DETERMINE RENT. Tenant in his rebuttal states that we had a verbal agreement with me for him to repair my kitchen cabinets and that I would have him sign a lease for a year. That he owed me noting and that he cannot move in 15 days as he had a wife who does not work due to injury, 3 small kids and for him to leave he would need 60 days, he would have to sell his vehicle and take a loan from his job. For the record tenant just brought a second Harley Davidson motorbike, an SUV, and his wife does have a job, and yet he does not want to pay his rent. At no time was there ever a mention in the original filing that this was about rent. I called the judge's assistant and tried to query the notice as it was incorrect. I was told the judge makes it about rent and thats how they like to write it. Now the tenant has not paid in 2 months and even through that was part of the problem I felt I was exercising my right as a landlord to give 15 days notice to vacate. This is my first time having to go to court for an eviction. So is Florida becoming a tenant friendly state?
I wouldn't call Florida a friendly landlord or tenant state, it's a very fair state.
However, the judge in your particular county maybe tenant friendly. Ours isn't. "Have you paid? No? Get out".
Simple solution though, if they haven't paid for 2 months, file a 3 day notice to the front door today, take your dated photograph, and file for an eviction on Monday or Tuesday morning next week. You can take part rent in the meantime, but you need to submit the money to the clerk when filing the eviction.
Then the whole issue is on the basis "have you paid the rent". The tenant is more than welcome to dodge that bullet and even a tenant friendly judge will have a hard time giving them more time.
Just make sure your 3 day notice is absolutely perfect though. Apparently, most are deficient, and a savvy tenant can stop the eviction if it is deficient.
Thanks James I will definitely consider that option.
It is easier to prevail in eviction court for non payment of rent than it is for another cause or for no-cause. Whenever rent is not received when due, serve the Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. See this link, it has some good information about 3-day notices in Florida for non-payment of rent.
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