Frequently Asked Questions

Evictions:

Hochberg & DiRienzo P.A.  Handles evictions throughout the state of Florida.  We charge a flat fee of $250 per eviction plus costs for contested or uncontested evictions for possession.  This fee includes preparation of a three day notice if you do not have one.  If you prepared your own three day notice we will review it and if valid we can use it to proceed with the eviction process.  The eviction process takes about three weeks and we can also help you obtain a money judgment for past due rent once the tenants are evicted.

 

1. What is the first step when a tenant does not pay rent?

The first step in dealing with a tenant that owes rent is to serve him/her with a proper three day notice to pay rent or deliver possession.  The three day notice is the cornerstone of the eviction process and must be prepared correctly or the whole case may be dismissed.  As part of our flat fee we will be happy to prepare the three day notice for you.  We will also review your notice for accuracy if you prepare your own.

2.  What happens after the three days is up?

If the tenant did not pay or move in the three days then we need to begin the eviction procedure.  The tenant will then be served with an eviction complaint and will have 5 days not including holidays and weekends to answer the complaint and put money into the court registry.  If the tenant does not answer or his answer does not contain a legal defense the Court will issue a default judgment of eviction against the tenant and a writ of possession will issue to the sheriff to post a twenty four hour warning for the tenant to vacate the premises.  If the tenant does answer with a possible defense and /or puts money into the Court registry the judge could order a mediation or hearing on the matter.  Our flat fee includes the attorney attending the mediation or hearing at no additional charge.

3.  When does the tenant get out?

The tenant may leave at any time during the eviction process but once the the writ of possession is brought to the sheriff and the 24 hour warning notice is stuck on the door that is their signal to leave the premises.  If the tenant does not vacate voluntarily within the 24 hour time frame the sheriff will make an appointment with the landlord as the sheriff’s schedule allows and will remove the tenant from the premises at that time.

4.  What if I don’t have a lease with a tenant?

If the tenant does not pay rent a three day notice is necessary whether there is a lease agreement or an oral tenancy.
If the tenant is undesirable for any other reason besides not paying the rent the tenant can be served with a 15 day notice to terminate tenancy.  This notice will be given 15 days before the end of the rental period.

5. What if a tenant pays rent but is not complying with the lease?

For tenants who are not complying with provisions of the lease they are given a seven day notice of non-compliance to cure the problem.  If they comply in the seven days they will not be evicted at this time.  If the conduct is repeated in the next 12 months their tenancy can be terminated without another opportunity to cure.

6.  How do I get the money I am owed?

The eviction complaint can include a count for past due rent.  We can help you obtain a money judgment against the tenant for past due rent.  Then there are many collection options that may be available.

7.  I need to get started right away what do I do?

Please contact our office and we can prepare a three day notice soon after we receive your information and a copy of your lease if you have one.  If you already prepared the three day notice we need a copy so we can determine if it is valid to use.  Once the days are up on the notice we are in position to begin the eviction.

8. What is the difference between using an attorney and using an eviction service?

An eviction service cannot give legal advice and cannot do anything besides filling out forms for you.  If your three day notice is wrong and the eviction service files your case it can be dismissed and you will lose the money you spent on filing fees and the process server and could owe attorneys fees to a tenant attorney.  Most probably you would have no recourse for this mistake.  Also if the court orders a hearing or a mediation in your case only an attorney can attend with you not an employee of an eviction service.  This is why we offer flat fee evictions so that it includes an attorney to go to court with you if necessary and to handle any papers that are needed.

9. Is the landlord allowed to change the locks or shut off utilities if the tenant does not pay rent?

No the landlord is not allowed to use self-help eviction practices.  According to Florida Statutes the landlord is prohibited from directly or indirectly interrupting utilities to the tenant such as water, electric, gas, heat, or garbage collection.
Also the landlord is prohibited from changing the lock or throwing the tenants personal property on the street without a proper eviction process unless the tenant surrendered or abandoned the premises.

If a landlord engages in self-help evcition he is liable to the tenant for actual and inconsequential damages or three times the rental amount, whichever is greater plus costs and attorney fees.