Know your Rights!
Residential Landlord Tenant Actions
A residential landlord/tenant action applies to the rental of a non-commercial dwelling unit with or without a rental agreement. It involves an action filed by a landlord against a tenant or tenant against a landlord for common disputes dealing with payment of rent and/or non-compliance or breach of a lease or rental agreement.
Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes provides general information on landlord/tenant actions. Landlord actions typically involve non-payment of rent and recovering possession of the rental property. You should carefully review this section of the law before starting any legal action.
The Basic Steps:
There are four different types of notices given to tenants for evictions. Each one is very specific in what it requires. Listed below are the different types of notices. You must give the tenant one of the following notices by either hand delivery to tenant or by posting the notice to the tenant’s door. After the required time has passed, you will bring to the Clerk’s Office the filing fees and your complaint, along with copies of one of the notices listed below, and copies of your written agreement, if there is one.
THREE DAY NOTICE
If a tenant has not paid his rent, the landlord is required to give his tenant a three day notice in writing to vacate the premises or pay the rent. After three full days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) have lapsed from the date of the notice (not counting the date the notice is delivered to the tenant), if the tenant has not complied with this notice, the landlord then comes to the Clerk’s Office and files his complaint for eviction of the tenant. A copy of the 3-day notice must accompany the complaint at the time of filing.
SEVEN DAY NOTICE (WITH CURE)
If the landlord has a tenant who is undesirable but the situation could be remedied within seven days. (i.e. unauthorized pets, guest, or parking, etc.), the Seven Day Notice With Cure could be given. The notice should state the non-compliance and give the tenant seven days to correct the problem or to vacate the premises. The tenant would be allowed to stay if he complies. If he does not comply, the landlord would file a complaint for eviction based on the notice given. If the same non-compliance recurs within a 12 month period, the landlord may commence with eviction proceedings without giving a subsequent notice.
SEVEN DAY NOTICE (WITHOUT CURE)
If a tenant is undesirable with a serious non-compliance (i.e. destruction, damages or misuse of property, unreasonable disturbance, etc.), the Seven Day Notice Without Cure could be given. The notice informs the tenant the rental agreement is terminated and that no further rent will be accepted. It also lists the items of non-compliance. If the tenant has not moved in seven days, the landlord would file eviction proceedings.
FIFTEEN DAY NOTICE
If the landlord needs possession of his property and it is not for any of the above reasons and the rent is paid on a month to month basis, he would give the tenant a fifteen day written notice to vacate the premises. The notice would state that the rental agreement is terminated and no further rent would be accepted. This notice should be given fifteen days prior to the rent being due. If the tenant does not vacate, the landlord would file his complaint for eviction. If a written lease agreement has been entered into, this section does not apply.
SERVICE OF YOUR SUMMONS ON THE TENANT
After you have filed your complaint, you or the Clerk of Court will prepare a summons to be served on the tenant. The summons notifies the tenant of the pending court action and tells them what they are required to do. The fee for issuing the summons is $10.00. The summons fee is to be paid to the Clerk of Court. The Clerk of Court will sign and seal the summons and return to you to deliver to the Sheriff or your selected process server (please refer to the list of approved process servers). The tenant must comply with the instructions on the summons and file an original answer with copies to you within 5 days of receipt of the summons not including weekends or legal holidays.
DEFENDANT COMPLIES WITH THE SUMMONS
The defendant may file an answer to your complaint or summons and, if required, deposit rent monies into the Court Registry. You will then need to have your case set for a hearing with the Court. The Clerk’s Office will notify you of the date and time.
DEFENDANT FAILS TO COMPLY WITH THE SUMMONS
If the defendant fails to file a response, the landlord may come back to the Clerk’s Office with a Motion for Default and a Request for a Default Final Judgment and Writ of Possession.
If the tenant should vacate the premises or pay the rent prior to the landlord filing their Motion for Default, the landlord should file a Notice of Dismissal.
EXECUTING YOUR WRIT OF POSSESSION
You may file a pdf Writ of Posession (17 KB) with the Clerk, who will then sign and issue the Writ. After the Writ of Possession is issued, you will deliver the Writ with a check in the amount of $90.00 made payable to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office for service.
NOTICE TO PARTIES NOT REPRESENTED BY AN ATTORNEY:
If you have questions or concerns about these forms, instructions, commentary, the use of the forms or your legal rights, it is strongly recommended that you talk to an attorney. You may obtain attorney information by contacting the Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service at (800) 342-8011.
Filing fees and general costs for filing an eviction in Okaloosa County may include some or all of the following:
$185.00 – County Court
$400.00 – Circuit Court (over $15,000)
$10.00 per defendant – Clerk of Court
$40.00 per person – Sheriff’s Fee
Writ of Possession:
$90.00 – Sheriff’s Fee (After Final Judgment)
All payments to the Clerk of Court must be remitted in cash or certified check or money order. Personal Checks are not accepted.
The Clerk of Court cannot practice law and is therefore limited in the assistance that can be directly given. The Clerk of Court provides a basic LANDLORD/TENANT EVICTION PACKET, which has been approved by the Court. This packet includes instructions, complaint forms for the most common types of landlord tenant actions, summons, final judgment, writ of possession, and other forms needed to complete a basic eviction action.
Landlord/Tenant Packet $9.90 (If purchased from the Clerk of Court’s Office). Internet forms are provided at no cost.
Landlord Tenant Forms
CrestviewClerk of the Circuit Court
Okaloosa County Courthouse
101 East James Lee Blvd.
Crestview, FL 32536
Ft. Walton BeachClerk of the Circuit Court
Okaloosa County Courthouse Annex Extension
1940 Lewis Turner Blvd, Suite 1-300
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547