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Maya Thomas' Blog

By Maya Thomas LLC, Broker | Agent in Key West, FL

How to Legally Evict Tenant Monroe County FL

How to Legally Evict Tenant Monroe County FL


I'm not an attorney but I've learned a few things over the years.  Evicting a Tenant is usually messy.  The best thing that you can do is to serve a Tenant (even if it is your daughter!) the 1st notice when they are 3 days late paying their rent.  Then serve the 2nd notice on time.  Follow the entire sequence of events exactly or you will start over at the beginning.



I understand what it's like to have a tenant sitting in your home living off of you and using you when you have bills to pay.  I understand that you want the tenant out as quickly as possible.   



The owner can not turn off the utilities, throw the tenant's things out on the street, change the locks, and give a new tenant the keys.  You must follow the rules.  Fortunately they are simple.



If you've already given the proper oral and written notice you can give the tenant a Notice to Quit and Vacate.  If the tenant holds over after the expiration of the lease without your permission you can give the tenant a Notice to Quit and Vacate.  If the owner has terminated the rental agreement for any of the reasons allowed under the Landlord and Tenant Act and the tenant does not move, you can give the tenant a Notice to Quit and Vacate.



If you want to evict the tenant for non-payment of rent, the owner or the agent must serve the tenant with a written notice allowing 15 days, excluding weekends and legal holidays to pay the rent or move out.



A


Go to the Monroe County Court House where you file public records.  Ask for a 3-day notice, a 15-day Eviction Notice AND a Complaint for Eviction (Filed by the owner or the Property Manager of owner).  The property owner must sign the documents.



B


The owner must give the tenant 15-days Notice prior to the end of the rental period.  If the Tenant pays rent on the 20th you must give Notice to Vacate no later than the 5th.  If the owner does not serve the 15-day notice on time the owner must wait another month before the Tenant will be required to leave.  Be sure to write the correct date on the Notice to Quit and Vacate.



C


Post or deliver the notice with a witness.  Your WITNESS must sign the Notice. 



D


If the tenant fails to vacate the premises you must file the Complaint for Eviction and the original Notice to Quit and Vacate at the Monroe County Court House.  The signature on the documents MUST be original.  You can not use a photo copy, fax or email copy of the document.



To get possession of the property, the owner or the Property Manager must file suit in county court.  Use the 2nd form that the owner already signed that's called a Complaint For Eviction.  Filing the Complaint is how you file suit.  It says at the top, "IN THE COUNTY COURT IN AND FOR MONROE COUNTY, FLORIDA."  It lists your seller's name (Plaintiff) vs the Tenant (Defendant).  You must give the court a copy of the 15-day Notice. The Tenant has 5 days, excluding weekend and legal holidays, to respond in writing to the Court.



If the Tenant does not respond a Judgment Court will issue a Writ of Possession to the Monroe County Sheriff Office and the Tenant will have 24 hours notice prior to eviction.



EVICTION PROCESS  



To begin the eviction process and evict your Tenant you must draft, serve and post a 3-day Notice of non-payment and then post it on the Tenants door.  



While you are at the Clerk of the Court filing your papers you must "swear" in front of the clerk that the information is true and correct.



The Property Manager can file and post the Notice, but must file the Property Management agreement and post the Property Management agreement with the 3-day Notice on the Tenants door.  If you are the Property Manager you can not appear in court if the eviction is contested.  You will need a copy of the lease if you go to court.



Only rent can be put on the eviction paper work as money that is due.  Attorney fees, late fees, interest, electric, water, sewer and gas are not rent and you will not get that money back.  



Late fees are not permitted unless there is a clause in the lease that says that late fees are considered rent. 



To evict a tenant properly you must count the days correctly.  It sounds easy enough, but if you don't do it right you'll have to start at the beginning when the case is thrown out.  



If you serve the 3-day Notice on a Monday then Tuesday is the 1st day, Wednesday is the 2nd day and Thursday is the 3rd day.  If you serve the 3 day notice on a Friday don't count Saturday or Sunday. 



Do not count holidays (New Years, Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Good Friday, Memoria Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Rosh Hashana, Veterans day, Thanksgiving, Friday after Thanksgiving, Christmas and Monday after Christmas day). 



If a Property Manager is going to serve the Tenant a 3-day Notice to pay the Property Manager MUST attach the Property Management Agreement.  You must file the paperwork in the owners name.  Remember, a Property Manager cannot go to court for the owner if the eviction is contested.



Florida law does not allow the owner or Property Manager to personally eject the Tenant, or move the Tenant's belongings into the street.  The owner is not allowed to shut off the utilities, water, gas, electricity, even if the service is in the owner's name.  



The owner cannot change the locks or use any "boot lock" or similar device.  The owner cannot remove the outside doors, locks, roof, walls, or windows.  The owner can not remove the Tenant's personal property from the dwelling unit unless proper legal action has been taken.


I recommend hiring a real estate attorney that handles tenant evictions.  If you don't have the money or are a "do it yourself" kind of person then head straight to the Clerk of the Court next to the Monroe County Court House to pick up the eviction papers or download the eviction forms from the site.



The Monroe County Court House is located at 302 Fleming Street.  The phone number is (305) 292-3540.  The web site is https://gov.propertyinfo.com/fl-monroe/.  Here are the forms that you need to evict a tenant in Monroe County FL.



If you do all of the paper work right in an eviction the law and courts favor the Landlord and not the Tenant. 



For more information see the Landlord Tenant Frequently Asked Questions.  If you are looking to buy or sell property in Key West visit http://www.Showcase Portfolio Properties.


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