How To Evict A Tenant (Part 4) -
Tenant Service of the 3 Day Eviction Notice
This is Part Four of the How To Evict A Tenant In
Determining the Proper Method of Serving the Tenant With
the 3 Day Eviction Notice
In order to be effective, the 3 day eviction notice must be
actually delivered to the tenant. Florida Statute § 83.56(4) provides, in pertinent part, that delivery of the 3
day notice shall be by mailing or delivery of a true copy thereof of, if the tenant is absent from the premises, by
leaving a copy thereof at the residence. Accordingly, in delivering the Florida 3 day eviction notice to the
tenant, the landlord has two options.
First, the landlord can mail the eviction notice to the tenant.
This method of service, however, has a unique set of problems that the landlord must be aware of. Rule 1.090(e) of
the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in pertinent part, that “[w]hen a party has the right or is required
to do some act or take some proceeding within a prescribed period after the service of a notice or other paper upon
that party and the notice or paper is served upon that party by mail, 5 days shall be added to the prescribed
period.” Florida case law has confirmed that this requirement is applicable to the service of the Florida eviction
notice. Accordingly, if the landlord intends to mail the notice of eviction to the tenant defaulting in the payment
of rent, five additional days must be added to the grace period in which the tenant must comply with the landlord’s
demand to pay the rent or move out.
Moreover, if the landlord choose to deliver the notice of eviction
through the mail, the tenant is likewise permitted to respond through the mail and the timeframe is adjusted
accordingly. As a result, anytime a landlord serves the three day eviction notice through the mail, an additional
ten days -- five days for the landlord’s letter plus five days for the tenant’s letter] will be tacked onto the
original three day grace period.
Furthermore, if the landlord or the landlord’s agent serves an
eviction letter and list only a post office box as the landlord’s address, the tenant is permitted to respond
through the mail and obtains an additional five days to respond to the notice. As we saw earlier in Part 3 of this
series of articles, the day the notice to vacate is received by the tenant is not included in the calculation of
the tenant’s three day grace period. The landlord choosing to mail eviction notices must also keep in mind that
Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays are not counted in the additional five or ten days.
Accordingly, as evident by these additions to the three day grace
period, a tenant would be overjoyed to receive the 3 day notice to pay or quit through the mail as that method of
service provides the defaulting tenant with additional time to respond to the notice, all the while residing at the
landlord’s rental property without paying the rent.
As a result, the landlord’s preferred method of serving the notice
to quit is by personal delivery. It is highly recommended that the landlord hire a licensed process server to serve
the notice. While not required under Florida law, a licensed process server can provide the landlord with an
Affidavit of Service of Process attesting to how and when the eviction notice was served on the tenant. This
Affidavit of Service of Process is clothed with a presumption of validity so any tenant challenging service of
process accomplished by a licensed process server has a high burden of establishing the service was not made or was
Whether or not the landlord elects to add the additional expense
of a process server, the landlord is permitted to personally deliver the notice of eviction. In the event the
tenant is absent from the premises when delivery is attempted, the tenant is permitted to leave a copy at the
tenant’s residence. As such, case law has developed in such a manner that the notice should be posted in a
conspicuous place to maximize the tenant’s opportunity to actually receive the posted eviction notice. For example,
if the landlord posts the notice of eviction on the rear door of the rental property when he or she knows the
tenant only enters the proper through the garage, that would not be considered a conspicuous place and would leave
the landlord open to the tenant’s argument the service of the 3 day eviction notice was improper.
If a licensed process server is not utilized in the serving of the
eviction notice, one method of avoiding arguments regarding how service was accomplished is to include a
Certificate of Service at the bottom of the eviction notice. The following is an example of how a Certificate of
Service can be incorporated into the eviction letter:
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.,
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]
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This article is written based on the current
status of Florida’s landlord 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, preferably an eviction attorney who is well versed in the
Florida eviction process.
Additional Articles In This Series Can Be Found As
How To Evict A Tenant in Florida (Part 1) can be reached by
clicking this link: An Overview of Landlord Tenant Law;
How To Evict A Tenant in Florida (Part 2): 3
Day Eviction Notice;
How To Evict A Tenant in Florida (Part 3): Tenant's Rights And The 3 Day Eviction
How To Evict A Tenant in Florida (Part 4): Tenant Service of the 3 Day Eviction
How To Evict A Tenant in Florida (Part 5): The Eviction Complaint.