3 Day Eviction Notice

 

Eviction Notices

Eviction notices in Florida, which are commonly called an eviction notice, a 3 day eviction notice, or simply a 3 day notice, are preconditions to initiating an eviction action against a tenant for non-payment of rent. Generally speaking, this means that the landlord is required to make a demand upon the tenant to pay the past due rent before he or she is allowed to sue the tenant for eviction. This eviction letter must be in writing and specifically demand from the tenant that he or she pay the rent outstanding or give the rental property back to the landlord. Sometimes landlords would rather just get the property back and do not give the tenant the option of surrendering the rental premises back to the landlord. However, by doing this, such landlords are inserting a legal defect into their eviction notice and, accordingly, should not be done. Each of the eviction notices must give both options: pay or get out.

Being statutorily prescribed, there are several requirements that must be contained in the 3 day eviction notice to make it withstand legal scrutiny. The most obvious of which is that it must be in writing and advise the tenant exactly how much rent the landlord is claiming is past due.

The eviction notice must also advise the tenant of the deadline to comply with the demands being made therein. This calculation must be done with extreme precision because any errors in calculating the date will result in the notice of eviction being declared invalid. For example, Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays are not to be included in the three day period (i.e., the tenant's grace period). Because the holidays are defined as those officially celebrated by the Clerk of Court, it is important that any landlord considering serving their tenant with an eviction letter verify that there are no "official holidays" during the time covered by their eviction notice.

The following is an acceptable form to use when serving eviction notices in Florida:

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 Statute].

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, by:

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]

As the form above indicates, it is now acceptable for non-attorney property managers to sign Florida eviction notices on behalf of the landlord. This was previously a concerned as many thought such behavior would constitute an illegal practicing of law without a license.

Equally obvious from reading this form is the fact that the tenant has the option of surrendering the rental unit back to the landlord or paying the past due rent. With that said, a common question asked by Florida landlords is what costs can be added to the sums demanded in the Florida 3 day notice. For a three day notice being served where the lease agreement is an oral agreement (i.e., no written lease), the answer is very simple: nothing but the rent can be demanded.

For those landlord tenant relationships founded on a written instrument (i.e., a written residential lease), the answer is a little more involved. However, the general rule is that anything that is defined as "rent" or "additional rent" can be included in the 3 day eviction notice. The converse is also true. If a cost such as interest, late fees and attorneys' fees, even if the lease provides the landlord is entitled to claim for them in the event of a non-payment of rent, is not expressly defined as "rent" or "additional rent," such charges cannot be demanded in the three-day notice. Of course, if an eviction action is required to evict the tenant, those charges can be recovered by the tenant in a successful eviction action.

After the eviction notice has been properly drafted by the landlord, the landlord must also ensure that it is properly served on the tenant. This can be done through personal delivery or through the mail. If eviction notices are mailed, the landlord must add an additional five days to the tenant's three day grace period. This is required by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and if the landlord fails to do so, the 3 day eviction notice will be deemed legally insufficient. Additionally, if the landlord choosing to mail the notice to quit, the tenant also has the option of responding through the mail and gets five days to do so, with the net result being the tenant will have thirteen days to respond to the notice!

Accordingly, because landlords are generally anxious to evict non-paying tenants as quickly as possible, they usually choose to serve the eviction notices via personal delivery. This minimizes the time in which the tenant is required to respond to the 3-day eviction notice.

Thereafter, assuming the tenant receives a legally sufficient 3-day notice and does not pay or vacate the rental property, the landlord can sue the tenant for eviction.

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.