The answer is yes. You really do need help from a lawyer. The reason being is that residential evictions are not always as easy as they seem. They can be costly and time consuming.
An experienced lawyer will know how to make the process less difficult for the landlord and less pricey. So how exactly does a residential eviction work in the State of Florida when your tenant has failed to pay rent due?
The first step that needs to be taken is a proper notice must be drafted and mailed or delivered to the leased property.
It is called a “three day notice” and provides the tenant to pay the rent due in three days or relinquish possession of the premises back to the landlord.
If the tenant fails to pay the rent due and ignores the notice, the landlord then must file an Eviction Complaint in a court of competent jurisdiction.
A Complaint is a legal document that requests relief from the court such as possession of the premises and rent owed.
Once the Eviction Complaint and Summons is filed with the clerk of courts. Both must be personally delivered to the tenant.
The tenant then has five days to respond to the Summons and Complaint via written response to the court. For the eviction and 20 days to respond to the Summons and Complaint. Via written response for the back rent and damages due.
If the tenant fails to respond, then the landlord is entitled to a default judgment. This is a two step process. First a Motion for Clerk’s Default is filed with the court.
A default final judgment needs to be obtained from the judge assigned to the case. Once the judge grants the default final judgment, the landlord is then entitled to a Writ of Possession. Which when signed by the Clerk, can be taken to the Sheriff. Who can proceed to the leased property and forcibly remove the tenant. And keep the peace while the landlord changes the locks of the property.
As one can see, the eviction process is not an easy one and can sometimes only take one month. To as long as 3-4 months. Thus it is highly advisable that a landlord seeking to evict a tenant hire an experienced attorney.