As a landlord, it can feel daunting when faced with a problem tenant or months of unpaid rent.
But you aren't alone; many other landlords have been in the same situation. Florida has the second-highest eviction rate in the country.
Though evictions are a last resort, they happen, so it's best to prepare yourself for any eventuality. Read on for this landlord's guide to understanding evictions.
Get to Know State Law
Eviction laws in Florida are governed at the state level. The law is there to protect tenants, so take the time to familiarise yourself. It will prevent you from inadvertently doing something that could land you in court.
You can only evict someone in Florida for a specific and provable reason. That includes non-payment of rent, property damage, or lease agreement violations.
You should always check the most up-to-date legislation for changes.
The Eviction Process
Evictions follow a standard process. Here's what happens when you decide to evict someone from your property:
- You'll write a formal eviction notice explaining the reason for the eviction
- You'll issue the written eviction notice to your tenant
- You'll allow your tenant time to resolve the issues
- You can file an eviction lawsuit if the situation remains unresolved
- You must prepare your case for court
- The court will hear your case and your tenant's defense
- The court will rule in favor of one party
If the court rules in favor of the landlord, it's up to the sheriff to remove the tenant. If the tenant wins the case, you can either accept the verdict or file an appeal if you feel you have reasonable grounds.
Common Eviction Reasons
It's helpful to understand what situations can lead to a tenant eviction. There are many, but they typically fall into three categories. The most common one is non-payment of rent.
That usually happens when the landlord has a persistent problem with late or non-payment. However, it's unlikely to occur after a one-off, like a tenant forgetting to pay on time.
If the problem is a lease violation, this is often due to unauthorized tenants living there.
Occasionally, the issue might be unauthorized pets or illegal activity. Sometimes, a landlord may issue an eviction because the tenant has continued to live in the property after the lease has expired.
Excessive property damage can also lead to an eviction. That damage would go far beyond the normal wear and tear you expect in a rental property.
How Landlords Can Lower the Risk of Evictions
Evictions are costly, time-intensive, and stressful. So, you should avoid taking that step unless it's the last resort.
The best way to protect your rental property is via a robust lease agreement and a comprehensive tenant screening process.
Evictions: Preparing for Any Eventuality
Evictions are never welcome by any landlord. But like any risk in life, it's best to prepare yourself.
Use this guide to learn about the process and legalities of evictions in Florida. Doing so could help you stay organized and make any eviction process smoother.
Our property management team at PMI Pinellas can also help you navigate the eviction process in Palm Harbour, Florida. Find out more by heading here.