Residential Evictions

Residential evictions under Florida law are governed by the provisions of Chapters 83.40 to Chapter 83.683 of Florida’s Landlord Tenant Act. If you need to evict a residential tenant, or defend against a residential eviction, you should consult with a landlord tenant lawyer. The information contained on this page should not be construed as legal advice

In order to gain a greater understanding of the laws surrounding residential evictions, it is necessary to read through the laws surrounding residential tenancies. The following is a list of residential tenancies which are specifically excluded from the definition of a residential tenancy:

  1. Residencies in a public or private detention facility, including a residence which is incidental to the provision of medical, educational, counseling, geriatric or religious services.
  2. Residencies which are incident to a contract for the sale of a dwelling or in which a buyer has paid at least 12 months rent or 1 month’s rent and 5% of the purchase price of the property or dwelling.
  3. A transient occupancy in a hotel, condo, motel, mobile home park or other public lodging.
  4. Residency by a holder of a proprietary lease in a coop.
  5. Residency by a condominium unit owner.

Under Fla. Stat. § 83.44, every rental agreement in the state of Florida imposes an obligation of good faith in its performance or enforcement.

Fla. Stat. § 83.45 concerns unconscionable provisions of a rental agreement. This section gives courts the power to rule that a given provision of a rental agreement is unconscionable, and provides a court of law with broad discretion to refuse to enforce the entirety of  a rental agreement, or that portion of a rental agreement which a court in its discretion finds unconscionable.

Fla. Stat. § 83.46 declares that unless otherwise agreed to between the landlord and tenant, rent is due and payable without demand or notice. This subset of Florida’s landlord tenant law also defines the duration of tenancies as follows:

  1. If a lease does not contain a clause as to the duration of the tenancy, then the lease is determined by the periods for which rent is payable to the landlord. For example, if rent is payable to landlord on a weekly basis, then the tenancy is considered a periodic tenancy from week to week.
  2. If, on the other hand, a tenant’s occupancy of a dwelling is incident to that tenant’s employment relationship with the landlord, then the duration of such a tenancy is determined by the period in which wages are payable to the tenant/employee.

Chapter 83.48 governs the award of attorney’s fees in a suit between a residential landlord and tenant. This section states the prevailing party may recover reasonable attorney fees and court costs form the losing party, and that the prevailing party’s right to attorney’s fees cannot be waived in a lease agreement.

Chapter 83.57 of the Florida Statutes governs the landlord’s right to terminate a month to month tenancy or a tenancy without a specific duration. Such a periodic tenancy, whether it’s a week to week tenancy or a month to month tenancy, may be terminated as follows:

  1. If the residential tenancy is from month to month, the landlord may terminate the residential tenancy by giving no less that 15 days’ notice prior to the end of any monthly period. If week to week, the landlord may terminate the residential tenancy by giving no less than 7 days’ notice prior to the end of any weekly period, and so on and so forth.

Chapter 83.58 of the Florida Statutes governs the procedure for removing tenants who holdover past the expiration of their lease.  If a tenant holdover and continues in possession or a dwelling or the residential premises after the term of the lease expires and without the landlord’s permission or consent, the landlord may sue for an recover possession of the dwelling. The landlord is also entitled to recover double the amount of rent due for the period in which the tenant refuses to surrender possession or vacate the premises.

Chapter 83.59 of the Florida Statutes governs the landlord’s rights to bring an action to terminate the lease and recover possession of the dwelling. The situations in which a landlord may recover possession are as follows:

  1. A landlord may evict a tenant is the tenant is a holdover tenant who stays on the premises passed the expiration of the lease without the landlord’s consent.
  2. The landlord may file to evict the tenant in the county court where the property is located or the circuit court if the landlord sues for possession and money damages and the money damages count exceeds the jurisdictional minimum of the county courts ($15,000.00).
  3. The landlord may not recover possession of the dwelling unit without bringing a lawsuit for eviction against the tenant. No self-help evictions.
  4. The landlord may recover possession when the tenant has surrendered possession of the dwelling.
  5. The landlord may recover possession of the premises when the tenant has abandoned the dwelling unit. If the landlord does not have actual knowledge of abandonment, then the tenant’s abandonment is presumed if the tenant is absent from the rental property for a period of time equal to ½ the time for periodic rental payments, i.e., in the case of a tenancy where rent is payable from month to month, 15 days (unless the landlord has been notified, by the tenant, of the tenant’s intended absence or the rent is current).

Florida’s residential eviction laws are voluminous, intricate and complex. You should not attempt to evict a residential tenant without first following the applicable legal procedure as set forth in the lease or Florida law. If you need help evicting a tenant, or defending against an eviction, call and speak to an eviction lawyer today.