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FAQ: County Civil

Evictions

Evictions - (561) 355-2500

The Florida Landlord Tenant Act can be found at Chapter 83, Florida Statutes. However, please be aware that there may be other law or legal issues applicable to specific situations. It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney if you are at all uncertain about what to do or how to do it.

The Palm Beach County Bar Association maintains an Attorney Referral Service. The Clerk & Comptroller's Self Service Center can provide you access to an attorney for a nominal charge, for the purpose of providing procedural advice.

Who can file a residential landlord or tenant action?

A landlord (the owner or lessor of a dwelling) or a tenant (a person entitled to occupy a dwelling unit under a rental agreement) may file a Residential Landlord or Tenant Action. If you have a commercial, agricultural or personal property lease, you should consult an attorney for the proper procedures to resolve disputes.

Do I need an attorney?

It is recommended that you consult with an attorney to obtain advice and to familiarize yourself with the procedures for enforcing your rights under your lease. The residential landlord/tenant relationship is controlled by the terms of your lease and by Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes. The procedures for enforcing your rights can be found in section 51.011, Florida Statutes. The public library and County Law Library will have these reference materials. They are also available online.

The Palm Beach County Bar Association maintains an Attorney Referral Service. The Clerk & Comptroller's Self Service Center can provide you access to an attorney for a nominal charge, for the purpose of providing procedural advice.

What do I have to do to file a residential landlord/tenant action?

Before you can file a landlord action, proper written notice must first be given to the landlord or tenant. The form of the notice will depend on the landlord's or tenant's reason for terminating the lease. Details and forms for such notice can be found in Chapter 83, Florida Statutes.

After I give proper notice, what do I have to do?

Once proper notice has been given, the next steps are to file a complaint for eviction and request that the Clerk issue a Summons. This will then need to be delivered to the Sheriff or process server for service on the Defendant or Defendants.

There are differing requirements and different types of actions against tenants and different types of actions depending on the circumstances. If you have any questions, please consult an attorney. The Palm Beach County Bar maintains an Attorney Referral Service. The Clerk & Comptroller's Self Service Center can provide you access to an attorney for a nominal charge, for the purpose of providing procedural advice.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO INCLUDE YOUR NAME, ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE NUMBER ON EVERY DOCUMENT YOU FILE WITH THE COURT.

When will I go to court?

The defendant will have a specific period of time to respond as specified in the summons. Depending on the form of action and the issues, the time frame for a court date varies.

May a lease for real estate be oral?

A lease is an agreement to rent property and it may be written or oral. Most are written, however, because oral agreements can be subject to misunderstandings or difficulties of proof.

What if a tenant fails to live up to obligations under the lease?

In order to terminate a tenancy for reasons other than failure to pay rent, Chapter 83 of the Florida Statues requires notice to the Tenant, in writing, of the alleged breach of the lease. The statute also requires that the tenant be afforded seven (7) days to correct the situation.

What if a tenant fails to pay rent?

Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes provides that the landlord serve the tenant with a written notice allowing three (3) days excluding weekends and legal holidays for the tenant to pay the rent or vacate the premises. If the rent is not paid within the three (3) days, the landlord may begin the eviction process. The landlord files suit in the office of the Clerk of the County Court, Civil Division, in the county in which the dwelling is situated. The tenant then has five (5) days excluding weekends and legal holidays to respond in writing to the court by filing the response with the Clerk of the County Court Civil Division. If there is no response from the tenant within the required time, a default judgment is entered against the tenant. If there is a response filed, upon request the court will schedule a trial at which each party has an opportunity to present its case. If after trial the court enters a judgment against the tenant, the Clerk of the County Court will issue a "Writ of Possession" to be served by the sheriff notifying the tenant that the tenant will be evicted in 24 hours.

What is proper notice of termination of tenancy?

This varies depending on the type of tenancy and other facts. Particulars are set forth in Florida Statutes.

What do the terms Count I and Count II eviction mean? 
  • Count I is an action for eviction only (possession)
  • Count II is a claim for damages (such as past due rent or damage to the premises)
What is a “Writ of Possession”?

A Writ of Possession is a directive issued by the court instructing the sheriff’s department to enforce a Court Order for possession by taking possession of a particular property and evicting those named in the order from the premises.

Where do I go and how do I find detailed information to file an eviction?

The Palm Beach County Bar maintains an Attorney Referral Service. The Clerk & Comptroller's Self Service Center can provide you access to an attorney for a nominal charge, for the purpose of providing procedural advice. In addition, you can purchase eviction forms online through the Self Service Center, review Florida Statues or go to the Self Service Center at any of the Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller’s offices.

 

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