Unless the lease states some specific period of time, the amount of notice depends on the rent payable period. If the rent is paid every week, the landlord must give seven days’ notice prior to the end of the weekly period. If the rent is paid every month, the landlord must give 15 days’ notice before the end of the month (§ 83.57, Fla. Stat.). If the tenant continues to occupy the premises after the expiration of the lease (without permission) or if the landlord has terminated the rental agreement for any of the reasons allowed under the Landlord and Tenant Act and the tenant does not move, the landlord can start eviction procedures and/or increased rental payments. In the case of non-payment of rent, the landlord must serve the tenant with a written notice allowing 3 days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) in which to pay the rent or move. In order to gain possession of the dwelling, the landlord must file suit in court, providing the court with a copy of the three-day notice. The tenant then has 5 days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, to respond in writing to the court and to post the amount of rent claimed to be due in the court registry; unless the tenant is claiming that the rent was already paid. If the tenant does not respond or a judgment is entered against the tenant, the clerk of the county court will issue a writ of possession to the sheriff and the tenant will have only 24 hours’ notice prior to eviction (§ 83.56, Fla. Stat.).
Florida law does not allow the landlord to use self-help eviction. The landlord is not allowed to:
- Shut off the utilities (water, gas, electricity, etc.) even if the service is in the landlord’s name.
- Change the locks or use any boot lock or similar device, except for repair, maintenance or replacement.
- Remove the outside doors, locks, roof, walls or windows.
- Remove the tenant’s personal property from the dwelling unit unless proper legal action has been taken.
If this occurs, the tenant may sue for actual and consequential damages or three months’ rent, whichever is greater, plus court costs and attorneys’ fees (§ 83.64; § 83.67; and § 83.51, Fla. Stat.)