A properly drafted eviction
notice, also known as the 3 day eviction notice, must be served by
the landlord or the landlord’s agent upon the tenant. This eviction letter must expressly demand that the
tenant pay the unpaid rent or surrender possession of the rental unit back to the landlord. The eviction
notice must provide both options as demanding payment of rent alone, or demanding only that the tenant vacate
the rental property, makes the notice of eviction legally insufficient.
There are several requirements that must be met by the landlord or
its agent in drafting the eviction notice. In a nutshell, the Florida 3 day eviction
notice must be set forth in a written document, it must expressly demand the precise
amount of rent that is overdue, and it must exactly calculate the tenant’s three day grace period to pay or get
out. Any defect in these requirements will subject the entire eviction action to being dismissed for failing to
state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted.
One of the most popular forms of the Florida eviction notice is as
Date: [Insert 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 Amount of Rent and Additional Rent Overdue] for the rent and use of the premises located
at___________________________ [Insert Address of Rental Property], _____________________ [Insert City of Rental
Property], ________________________ [Insert County of Rental Property], now occupied by you. That rent was due on
_______________ [Insert Day 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 Date Calculated In Accordance With Florida
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I certify that a copy of this notice has been furnished to the
above named tenant on ________________ [Insert Date of Service of Process], at ______________a.m./p.m,
1. ( ) Delivery
2. ( ) Posting in a conspicuous place on the premises.
[Insert Name of Landlord or Property Manager]
[Insert Address of Landlord or Property Manager]
[Insert Telephone Number of Landlord or Property Manager]
While there has been some confusion in the past surrounding this
issue, it is now clear that a non-attorney property manages is permitted to sign the eviction notice on behalf of
the landlord and such action does not constitute practicing law without a license.
As evident by a reading of the notice of
eviction set forth above, the tenant has the option of paying the rent to keep
possession of the rental property, or surrendering the rental property back to the landlord. As such, the question
becomes whether the landlord is legally permitted to add late fees to the amount set forth in the eviction demand
letter. However, the general consensus amongst judges and eviction attorneys is that unless the late fees are
expressly designated as “rent” or “additional rent” in a written residential lease agreement, late fees are not
permitted to be added to the demanded amount. Interestingly, the same argument applies to demands for attorneys’
fees incurred in prosecuting the eviction (and preparation of the eviction letter) and interest accruing on the
past due rent.
Once the landlord has properly prepared the eviction notice, the
landlord must then serve it upon the tenant. The landlord can do that in one of two ways. First, the landlord can
mail the 3 day
notice to the tenant. However, this is generally not the preferred option as the Florida
Rules of Civil Procedure mandates that if the notice of eviction is mailed, five additional days must be added to
the tenant’s three day grace period to pay up or move out. Additionally, if the notice to quit is mailed by the
landlord, the tenant is also permitted to respond through the mail. As such, if both parties use the United State
postal service as their method of service, an additional ten days (five days for the landlord’s notice and five
days for the tenant’s notice) must be added to the original three day requirement.
As a result, the second option is typically the Florida landlord’s
chosen method of serving the tenant: personal delivery to the tenant. If the tenant is absent from the rental
property when service of process is attempted, the landlord is permitted to leave a copy of the 3 day eviction
notice at the rental property. Please note, however, that if the landlord only lists a post office box as his or
her address on the eviction notice, the tenant is permitted to five days to respond.
Also, the landlord needs to keep in mind that the eviction notice
to the tenant may not include weekends or legal holidays. Legal holidays are those dates expressly qualified as
such under Florida law and are the days legally observed by the Clerk of Court (and not necessarily by the
judges!). Additionally, if the notice to quit is served upon the tenant through the mail, weekends and holidays are
also not counted in the additional time, whether it be the five or ten extra days.
If the tenant, in fact, receives a properly prepared and served
notice of eviction and does not pay or move out, the landlord is entitled to evict the tenant. Keep in mind,
however, that the eviction notice is a precondition of maintaining an eviction action so its validity must be the
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This article is written based on the current
status of Florida’s landlord and tenant laws. 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.