Written by David Lowrey
As the owner of a Plant City property management company, I meet a lot of private landlords in all sorts of distressed situations. In fact, I just met a retired welder, who owns a nice mobile home lot on 2 acres. He has tenants who having been paying for almost 3 years but just got cited for code violations (trash in the yard.)
He called me because we specialize in these sorts of situations as a Plant City Property manager. This is the first time he has seen the property since he rented to them. He has been living out of state. Needless to say, the inside of the home was equally trashed as the outside.
When we showed up to look at the home, she started screaming at us and demanded we leave, so we left. Keep in mind the tenant is paying the rent each month, but the lease has been up for about 6 months. The owner doesn’t know what to do.
Can he just kick them out or file for eviction? How does he get them to leave?
In Florida, if a tenant is violating the terms of the lease, you must give them a 7-day notice on...
Non-compliance citing what they must correct. They have 7 days to correct the problem or you can then file for eviction. If they correct, then you need to let them stay unless is was a gross violation of the lease like dealing drugs.
However, if it is something reasonable that they do correct within the 7 days, then you can’t evict on that. What you can do is give them notice their lease is up and they have 30 days to find a new home. If they don’t leave in that 30-day period, you can then file for eviction without a challenge.
If the lease is not up for a while, you can also evict for repeated offenses. So, if they keep getting cited by code enforcement, that would be grounds for eviction. However, if the tenant contests this in court and continues to pay the rent, the judge could go either way. He might uphold your eviction, or he might not.
Normally this sort of hassle goes hand in hand with the tenant not paying rent. In that case, you give a 3 day notice in Florida and evict for non-payment of rent which more straightforward.
The bottom line is to not have these conversations with the tenant in person. These sorts of conversations can easily escalate into violence and now it is your word against their word on who started what. The best thing to do is have these conversations on the phone and if that can’t remain civil, do it through email or mail.
You are the owner and are entitled to have your property returned. There are just legal steps that you have to step through that don’t require too much time, but are required by law. Do these steps in order and you can regain your property without too much trouble. Worst case, if tenant is paying rent and fixing any 7 day notice of compliance, just don’t renew their lease.
If you don’t know the legal steps, hire a property manager or an eviction attorney. They typically can save you months of time in getting this process done.
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