3 Day Eviction Notice

 

3 Day Notice To Pay Or Quit

In today’s environment, more and more Florida landlords are faced with the problem of their tenants failing to pay their rental obligations as they come due. Sometimes the tenants are simply unable to afford the rent due to being laid off from their jobs. Sometimes, the reason is more sinister -- they simply would rather spend the landlord’s rent on something else and know it will take some time before they will be court ordered to vacate the premises. In any event, the landlord is generally anxious to remove the tenant from their property as soon as possible so that he or she can replace the defaulting tenant with one that will, hopefully, pay the rent in full and on time. As such, it is critical that the landlord properly prepare and serve the tenant with a 3 Day Notice To Pay or Quit, which is more commonly referred to as the “3 day eviction notice,” “3 day notice,” “notice to quit,” “notice to vacate,” “eviction letter,” and even “eviction notice.”

Unfortunately, many landlords obtain their free eviction notice forms from less than reliable sources and believe that they are so simple that the only thing they need to do is fill in the blanks and mail it to the tenant. This, however, is largely incorrect. The Florida 3 day eviction notice laws are very dangerous in that even the slightest mistake in preparing or serving the eviction notice upon the defaulting tenant will result in it being declared a nullity and, therefore, affording the tenant yet more time to reside in the landlord’s rental property without paying the rent.

As a result, it is easy to see the important role played by the 3 day notice to pay or quit. As such, it is equally important to avoid the traps inherent in the Florida landlord tenant laws.

The initial step in any eviction proceeding is the 3 day eviction notice. This eviction notice is a formal demand whereby the tenant is directed by the landlord to pay the outstanding rent or move out of the property by a date certain. Because this statutorily required notice is condition precedent, it is typically thought of as the first “pleading” in the eviction action. Stated another way, a legally sufficient notice of eviction must be served by the landlord or the landlord’s agent upon the tenant prior to being permitted to prosecute an eviction action against that tenant for his or her failure to pay the rent as it becomes due.

Florida Statute ยง 83.56(3), which must be substantially complied with, provides the eviction notice template that should be used by the Florida landlord. The eviction form is as follows:

Date: [Insert the Date Notice Is Prepared - preferably it is also the date the eviction notice will be served on the tenant]
To: [Insert the Name of the Tenant - this needs to be the name of the tenant as it appears in the residential lease agreement]

You are notified that you are indebted to me in the sum of $________________ [Insert the Amount of Rent and the Additional Rent Overdue] for the rent and use of the premises located at___________________________ [Insert the Address of Rental Property], _____________________ [Insert the City of the Rental Property], ________________________ [Insert the County of the Rental Property], now occupied by you. That rent was due on _______________ [Insert the Day the Rent Was Due] and I demand payment of the rent or possession of the premises within three days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays) from the date of delivery of this notice, specifically, on or before ___________________ [Insert the Date Calculated In Accordance With the Applicable Florida Statute].

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I certify that a copy of this notice has been furnished to the above named tenant on ________________ [Insert the Date of Service of Process], at ______________a.m. / p.m., by:

1. ( ) Delivery
2. ( ) Posting in a conspicuous place on the premises.

_________________________________________________
[Insert the Name of the Landlord or the Property Manager]
[Insert the Address of the Landlord or the Property Manager]
[Insert the Telephone Number of the Landlord or the Property Manager]

As alluded to above, the requirements of the 3 day notice to pay or quit are numerous.

First, the landlord is required to give the tenant written notice of the amount of the past due rent that the landlord believes is owed by the tenant. The landlord is only permitted to charge rent that is actually due and cannot add future rent, even if the rental payment would come due during the time the eviction notice would be pending. If it is important to the landlord to capture a future rental payment in the notice of eviction, then the landlord should wait until that future payment becomes due before delivering the notice.

Next, only those items agreed in writing (typically in the form of a residential lease agreement) to be considered “rent” can be added to the sums demanded in the Florida 3 day eviction notice. These additional charges include interest, attorneys’ fees and late fees.

Third, the landlord must not limit the options provided in the eviction notice form set forth above. Both options (i.e., to pay the pay due rent or move out) must be given to the tenant in the notice to quit. If only one alternative is provided, the 3 day eviction notice will be deemed defective and the eviction lawsuit dismissed for failing to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted.

Finally, the landlord filing out the sample eviction notice must be aware that not every day is included in the calculation as to when the tenant must comply. For example, the day the notice is delivered to the tenant is not included. Neither are weekends and holidays officially observed by the Clerk of the Court.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This article is written based on the current status of the Florida landlord tenant laws, including the 3 day eviction notice. However, this article is for general knowledge only and is not intended, in any way whatever, to constitute legal advice. Prior to following any recommendations listed in this article, please consult an attorney duly licensed in your state.