How to evict your tenant without breaking the law

When you have a disrespectful or unreliable tenant, your patience can run thin. If reminders to pay rent don’t work or you can no longer find a solution for their behavior, you may start considering the next step – eviction.

If you’re thinking about evicting your tenant, you need to proceed thoughtfully. There are several guidelines you need to follow to lawfully evict your tenant.

You need a good reason

First, you must recognize what conditions are grounds for eviction as opposed to simply annoying behavior. Typically, the following reasons will fulfill requirements for eviction:

  • Failure to pay rent
  • Breach of lease
  • Damage to property
  • Causing health or safety problems
  • Breaking health, noise or occupancy ordinances

You need to provide sufficient notice

Florida law states that you must provide written notice and give your tenant seven days to fix the issue before you can evict. If the problem is a lack of rent payment, you only need to provide three days’ notice. This does not include weekends, holidays or the day that you give the notice.

The written eviction notice should include a final warning – which is typically fix the problem, pay or leave. Here are a few tips for crafting and presenting an eviction notice:

  • Include a deadline for the tenant to either pay, solve the issue or move out.
  • List all fees that the tenant owes.
  • Tape the notice to their door.
  • Send a copy of the notice to the tenant via Certified Mail through the United States Postal Service.

After you reach this point, it’s up to the tenant to vacate or resolve the issue – and they usually will. If they still refuse to go, you may have to file your eviction with the courts. A lawyer who specializes in real estate law can help with this step. But in most cases, the notice on your tenant’s front door will spark movement.

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