No, You Can't Change The Locks: 8 Must-Know Eviction Laws for Florida Landlords

Written By Melanie Kershaw

Last Updated Mar 5, 2024

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Evictions are usually a last resort for Florida landlords. While no one wants an eviction on their to-do list, when your rental income dries up or a tenant is damaging your property, it's time to take action.  


If eviction from your Florida rental property is necessary, it will be a lot easier if you have a good handle on the proper procedures and laws in the state. In 2023, the state passed changes to the Florida Landlord and Tenant Act or Florida Statute 83. This overturned a number of local city ordinances around notice and evictions, so things may have changed since your lease started. 


While every eviction situation is unique, Belong put together a quick guide of 8 common questions to support Florida landlords in 2024. 


What eviction rules have changed in Florida for 2024? 

A notable change to Florida tenancy laws is that notice periods have increased when ending a monthly agreement. If you need to terminate a month-to-month tenancy, you can give 30 days written notice to vacate your property. This has doubled from the previous rule of 15 days. 


When a lease has expired, written notice periods depend on how frequently rent is paid:


  • Week-to-week: 7 days notice
  • Month-to-month: 30 days (increase from 15 days)
  • Quarter-to-quarter: 30 days
  • Year-to-year: 60 days

If the resident remains in the home after the notice period has passed, you have cause to file an eviction lawsuit. 


Other 2023 changes that impact tenancy laws (but not evictions) include accepting a fee in lieu of a security deposit, returning deposits on time, caps on late fees and conducting background checks on employees and contractors. 


What are the reasons you can evict someone from a rental home in Florida in 2024? 

In Florida, you need 'just-cause' to end a lease agreement. Valid reasons include:


  • Non-payment of rent
  • Not vacating after a lease has ended and notice has expired 
  • Violation of lease terms
  • Not upholding responsibilities under tenant-landlord law, such as destroying or defacing the premises, having a pet without permission, or unreasonably disturbing neighbors in a breach of the peace

Homeowners should also be aware of their obligations under Florida's landlord-tenant statute to keep the property in good repair and ensure the home is habitable. If you fail to do so, your resident has the right to withhold rent, provided they issue you with a notice of their intent. You will get seven-days notice to correct the defect/s and the resident can't be forced to pay rent or threatened with eviction during this period. 


How much notice is needed for non-payment of rent? 

If a tenant fails to pay rent, you can provide three-days notice to vacate. This notice gives the resident three business days to pay owed rent or leave.


Here's what happens next:


  • If the resident pays the rent within the three-day period, you can't proceed with an eviction and the tenant continues their existing lease arrangement. If it happens again, the process must be repeated.
  • If you don't receive the rent, but the tenant vacates within the three-days, you may use the security deposit to cover the unpaid rent. If the security deposit doesn't cover all of the rent due, you have the option to sue for the amount owing.
  • If the resident doesn't pay the rent and remains in the home, you can file a summons and complaint with the county court to gain possession of the property. 

How much notice is required to evict for a lease violation? 

For a lease violation you must provide the tenant with seven-days notice to vacate your Florida home. It's worth getting legal help to put this notice together, but if it contains any errors it's considered defective. You may need to start the process and notice period over again. 


During this seven-day period, you need to give residents a chance to fix things if it's a minor infraction. For example, if your tenancy agreement states "no pets allowed" and they adopt a cat, you can allow them to surrender or rehome the cat before proceeding with the eviction process. 


If violations continue, you don't have to keep giving them chances to rectify. Also if they behave in a way that can't be easily rectified (for example, conducting illegal activity or causing considerable damage), this is an "incurable violation" for which the tenant can not make amends. 


Can I force a renter to leave my Florida property?

No, you should never take matters into your own hands when you need a resident of your rental home to leave. Activities such as shutting off the utilities or changing the locks to your home to keep a renter out is called a "self-help" eviction and is illegal in Florida. If you are found to be forcing an eviction illegally, you could be sued for up to three months' rent or damages (whichever is greater) plus legal costs under Florida laws. 


How can I get someone removed from my rental home?

Only a Florida law enforcement official has the authority to remove someone under a writ of possession. If you believe someone is living in your house illegally with no lease (known as 'squatting'), you can provide local police with a sworn affidavit. Under Chapter 82, Section 35 of the Florida code, this will allow police to remove the unlawful occupant. 


How long does the eviction process take in Florida?

On average, it takes 20 - 37 days to evict a resident of your rental property in Florida. If the eviction is not contested and the process runs smoothly, it could take as little as 7 - 15 days. 


The estimates below are the typical processing times, but be aware that if your local court faces a backlog of cases, it could take longer to receive a hearing date if required: 


  • Serve eviction notice: 3 - 5 days
  • File eviction lawsuit: 2 - 5 days
  • Serve eviction papers: 1 - 3 days
  • Await a response: 1 - 7 days
  • Court enters a default judgment or assigns a hearing date: 5 - 7 days
  • The clerk of court enters a writ of possession: 1 - 3 days
  • Sheriff executes writ of possession: 1 - 7 days

Once an eviction has been approved, the residing parties have 24 hours to vacate. If they do not vacate, a law enforcement officer will need to handle their removal from the property. 


How much does an eviction cost in Florida?

This depends! Evictions can be complex and unique, so costs can vary, especially if you end up in court and/or require an attorney. The Miami-Dade Clerk of the Courts Office advises that an eviction filing costs $185 - $340. 


But even filing fees vary depending on the type of eviction that you require. Pasco County has a list of Landlord/Tenant Eviction Fees and Costs here, which can provide a good reference point to start. Most counties have downloadable forms and fee schedules available on their websites, so be sure to check out your local county for resources. 


If you expect that your property management fees will cover an eviction, be sure to check the fine print. Belong ranked the top-rated property management companies in Florida and found that most eviction protection packages cover filing fees only and are limited to around $500 - $800, leaving you with considerable out-of-pocket expenses if things aren't straightforward. Not only does eviction protection increase your management fees, most still charge for overseeing the eviction process and add on additional costs if any of their staff need to attend court on your behalf. 


Disclaimer: This article provides generalized information about Florida's eviction process and should not replace legal advice. Every eviction case is unique, so a lawyer can help remedy your exact situation. You can find more information on local tenant rights, laws, and protections on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website.


This story was produced by Belong and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.

About the author

Melanie Kershaw

Mel Kershaw is a Content Lead at Belong. With an extensive background working with technology companies including Eventbrite and Yelp, she’s always looking for ways to create educational and informative articles that simplifies tech and solves problems for her audience.