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Tampa Real Estate Lawyer > Blog > Evictions > How To Keep An Eviction Legal

How To Keep An Eviction Legal


If a landlord and a tenant enter into a lease contract, both parties are required to act in a way that upholds the terms of the lease at all times. This includes the terms that govern breaking that lease or otherwise terminating it, such as by eviction. A landlord must conduct an eviction in keeping with state law, or the tenant will have grounds to seek a legal remedy in court. If you have a tenant you need to evict, it is often a good idea to consult with an attorney before doing so, in order to ensure that proper procedure is followed.

Eviction Need Not Be Intentional

It is a good idea to be aware that Florida landlord-tenant law is very specific and very careful to protect the rights of tenants, given the potential power imbalance between the two parties. In general, a landlord has the right to evict a tenant if the tenant has not complied with the terms of the lease. However, if the tenant has complied, the landlord may not simply choose to evict the tenant without cause, or without following the proper legal procedures to do so.

Essentially, Florida law establishes a list of prohibited practices for landlords, and if you have committed any of the acts contained in the statute, you may be guilty of wrongful eviction. This does not necessarily have to mean you condoned bodily removal of a tenant who was otherwise paying their rent – it can be a more subtle action, such as changing the locks without notice and without providing a new key. Other examples include terminating a utility that the tenant pays for or removing the tenant’s property without permission before a court order of eviction is obtained.

Follow Procedure

In Florida, the process to evict a tenant starts with a notice, which grants a 3-day period in which any issue must be cured, or the tenant must vacate the premises. A tenant has the right to respond to this notice, but if they do not cure the alleged defect (in other words, if they do not remedy whatever issue made the landlord issue an eviction notice), the landlord can then file a lawsuit to compel eviction. In order to prevail in that lawsuit, the landlord has to establish that (1) they have the right to evict the tenant; and (2) that they have grounds to do so.

If the landlord is successful in their suit, they will then acquire what is known as a writ of possession – and only once they have the writ of possession can they call the county sheriff to evict the tenant. Trying to do so beforehand may result in a judge holding that the tenant suffered ‘irreparable harm’ – which is grounds for them to sue the landlord for damages in return. Proceeding slowly, and in line with the timeline established by state law, is a better option.

Contact A Tampa Landlord-Tenant Attorney

If you are a landlord with a tenant you wish to evict, contacting an attorney before pulling the proverbial trigger can save you months of time and trouble – to say nothing of money. A Tampa landlord-tenant attorney from the Seward Law Office can help answer your questions about the proper procedure to follow. Attorney Alicia Seward has handled this type of case before and will work to help you with yours – call us today to schedule a consultation.

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