There is nothing more frustrating for property managers and investors than to have a non-paying tenant in their property who knows how to utilize the Court system to their advantage. A savvy tenant can often remain in a property without paying for weeks after a valid eviction is filed, simply by contesting the eviction and requesting a hearing, or filing other defenses.
While the court process is relatively fixed and oftentimes frustrating for landlords, there are steps a landlord can take to minimize the tenant’s unpaid rent.
To minimize delays, the first thing to do is make sure your 3-day notices are drafted and served properly. There are attorneys throughout Florida who specialize in representing tenants when a defective notice is filed by a landlord. If a case gets dismissed for a defective notice, judges often award thousands of dollars in attorney fees to the tenant, and a landlord must pay the judgment before they can re-file. Therefore, a defective notice can cause a landlord delays by either having to re-serve a new notice, or having to re-file a case.
Avoiding these common mistakes will help you file your cases quicker and get possession back faster. Stay tuned for Part 2 next month.
Avoid These Common Pitfalls With Notices
- Do Not Serve an Incomplete Notice – Leaving out the address, county, certificate of service, or the amounts due and the due date can make your notice defective.
- Do Not Serve Via Mail or List a P.O. Box – If you do, you will need to add 5 calendar days to your notice.
- Do Not Include Late Fees or Other Fees in the Amount Due – Only include them if those fees are deemed as “additional rent” in your lease
- Do Not Miscalculate Your Due Dates – Don’t count the day the notice is served, weekends, or holidays, and never make a due date a weekend or holiday.
- Do Not Include Court Holidays – Each county court recognizes different holiday schedules and you need to know which days are recognized in your county.
- Do Not Forget to Add 5 Days if You are an Out-of-County Landlord – Certain Counties Require an Out-Of-County Landlord to Add 5 Days. If the Landlord’s address is out of county and the property is located in Brevard, Broward, Citrus, Flagler, Hernando, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, or Volusia Counties you need to add 5 calendar days to your 3-day notice.
For a copy of our 3-Day Notice with instructions and a list of common holidays, please click on “Forms & Resources”, or click on “Articles” to access other helpful articles. You may also call us at 1-877-871-8300 if you have questions about landlord-tenant law.