3 Day Eviction Notice

 

Florida 3 Day Eviction Notice

In Florida, landlord tenant law is replete with obstacles that can easily derail a landlord's attempt to evict his or her tenant, the most common of which is the 3 day eviction notice. This article briefly explores the highlights regarding this eviction notice.

A rental agreement, also known as a "lease," creates the landlord tenant relationship. The lease can be formed in one of two ways: through an oral agreement, commonly referred to as an "oral lease," or through a written document, also known as a "written lease." Whether written or oral, a lease is commonly defined as a bilateral contract for the conveyance of an estate in land for a specific period of time. In fact, Florida law treats the tenant as the owner of a leasehold interest in the rental property for the duration of the lease term. An "eviction" is the process in which the landlord attempts to obtain a forfeiture of the tenant's leasehold interest in the rental property.

It is important to note that Florida law does not permit a landlord to retake possession of a rental property through physical force, also known as "self-help." Instead, the landlord must exercise its right of re-entry through the legal process.

Generally speaking, a residential landlord typically starts the eviction process when the tenant commits a default under the lease. The most common tenant default is his or her failure to pay the rent when it becomes due. Unfortunately, exercising the landlord remedy of eviction is extremely technical, starting with the requirement of a formal demand for payment of rent known as the 3 day eviction notice, or simply the eviction notice.

Because causing the residential tenant's forfeiture of his or her interest in the rental property is disfavored in the law, a formal demand for rent is always required. As a matter of law, the landlord is not permitted to evict the tenant unless a proper eviction notice (i.e., the 3 day eviction notice) is properly served upon the tenant to pay the rent or quit the premises.

Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes governs residential tenancies in Florida. Florida Statute ยง 83.56(3) governs the 3 day notice and prescribes the eviction form that must be used by the landlord. Pursuant to this statute, the eviction notice must be in writing and must specifically set forth the exact amount of overdue rent. Notably, the eviction demand must not include any other charges other than rent. Accordingly, if the residential lease does not define late fees, attorney's fees, interest, or any other charges as "rent" or "additional rent," those charges cannot be included in the 3 day notice to pay or quit.

While it probably goes without saying, the eviction notice must contain a demand for payment of the overdue rent or return of possession of the rental property. The landlord should also pay careful attention to the grace period afforded to the tenant by the statute to avoid errors in the calculation of such time frame. Intervening Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays (i.e., those observed by the Clerk of Court) must not be included in the eviction demand. Nor should the day the notice is served upon the tenant. Finally, if the three day eviction notice is mailed to the tenant, five additional days must be added to the statutory grace period.

Because the eviction notice is a trap for the uninformed landlord, it is advisable that an eviction attorney be hired immediately upon the tenant's failure to pay the rent to avoid any unnecessary delay in recapturing possession of the rental property.