Three-Day Notice Required for Landlords to Evict Tenants

Defective Three-Day Notice

Pursuant to Florida Statute §83.20 or §83.56, a landlord is required to provide 3 days’ notice to the defaulting tenant in the event of nonpayment of rent in violation of an existing written lease agreement. Since self-help is strictly prohibited, landlords are required to adhere to statutory guidelines or face serious legal ramifications. As such, a legal and proper eviction of a tenant involves meticulous adherence with Florida mandate.

Prior to filing a lawsuit for eviction against a tenant, Florida law requires landlords comply with statutory prerequisites or risk having their complaint for eviction dismissed for being filed prematurely. Although the three-day demand requirement may seem relatively simple and straight forward, common errors are notorious for causing serious delays thereby prolonging the removal of a non-paying tenant.

To illustrate how a simple error can prolong the removal of a tenant, consider the following:

The three-day notice must provide the option of having the tenant pay the past due rent. In the event, the notice simply states that the landlord demands possession of the property while neglecting to state that the tenant can also pay outstanding rent due, the notice may be deemed defective.

It is important to note that the three-day demand must comply with all accompanying statues, regulations, Acts, court rules and other governing law. For instance, if the landlord elects to deliver the written demand via U.S. mail, under Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.090(e), an additional five days must be computed toward the total period designated for compliance. Failure to comply may render dismissal of the complaint.

Moreover, under principles of legal standing and constitutional due process, a landlord’s three-day demand may be defective for failing to state the name of the actual party entitled to receive the rental payment under the lease agreement.

Landlords Complaints Must Strictly Adhere to Florida Laws

These are only a few (of the many) examples that help explain the nuances of landlord-tenant law and show how important it is to strictly adhere to Florida laws and guidelines. Unfortunately, many unrepresented litigants and even real estate agents or brokers make these or similar, simple errors which may lead to a dismissed complaint and a frustrated landlord. What is more, in the event the complaint to evict is dismissed, the landlord will have to prepare an all-new three-day notice as a prerequisite to filing a new complaint. Thereafter, the landlord must file an entirely new complaint and pay the filing and service fees once more. Of course, this provides the tenant additional time to respond thereby lengthening the already drawn-out process.

In essence, an otherwise simple process can easily snowball out of control due to a technicality. As explained, the landlord is at risk of exhausting financial resources such as suffering the loss of additional rental income and paying supplemental attorney’s fees. To prevent an extended process and have the case handled right the first time, it is best to hire an attorney experienced in this field to prepare a proper demand compliant with all aspects of the statutes and in accordance with the nuances of Florida law.

Diane Vidal is an attorney with the law firm of Chiumento Dwyer Hertel Grant, P.L.

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