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Facing Eviction in Florida? Here's How to Respond!

Posted by Debi Rumph | Mar 15, 2024 | 4 Comments

 

An eviction notice can be stressful, but knowing your rights as a tenant in Florida empowers you to respond effectively. This guide will walk you through the eviction response process.

Understanding the Eviction Notice

The first step is to understand the reason for the eviction. The eviction notice should clearly state the landlord's claim, such as non-payment of rent, violation of the lease agreement, or holding over after the lease expires.

Responding Promptly is Key

Florida law grants tenants a limited window to respond to an eviction lawsuit – typically 5 business days from the service date. Timely action is crucial to avoid a default judgment that could lead to eviction.

Your Response Options

  • Seek Legal Counsel: A landlord-tenant lawyer can advise on the best course of action and represent you in court.
  • Self-Representing: While representing yourself is an option, ensure you understand the response requirements. Keep it concise and relevant, avoiding irrelevant details or excessive length.

Docassemble: A Free Online Tool

The Florida Bar offers a free online tool called Docassemble that can help you draft an eviction response. This tool asks you a series of questions and generates a customized response based on your situation. While Docassemble cannot provide legal advice, it can be a helpful resource to get you started. You can access Docassemble here: Florida Eviction Response Tool:

What to Include in Your Response

Your eviction response should include:

  • Your name and address
  • Court name and case number
  • Denial of the landlord's claims (if applicable)
  • Any defenses you have (e.g., timely rent payment, unrepaired issues by the landlord)
  • Request for relief (e.g., staying in the property, case dismissal)
  • Request for the court to determine rent deposited into the court registry 

Filing and Serving Your Response

Once complete, file your response with the court clerk and mail a copy to the landlord or their attorney. (Note you can remove the part about attorneys charging a fee to file electronically – it's not universally applicable and might confuse readers.)

Court Hearing

If you request a rent determination hearing, the court will schedule one to hear both sides. Attending and presenting your defense is crucial.

Seek Additional Help

Consider seeking assistance from a lawyer or tenant advocacy organization for guidance on your rights and legal options.

Disclaimer

This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Consult an attorney for specific legal guidance regarding your situation.

Remember, this blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It's always best to consult with an attorney for specific legal guidance regarding your situation. Contact us today to learn more about our quickest and most affordable service, the Talk to the Attorney Session!  

About the Author

Debi Rumph

The Law Offices of Debi V. Rumph and Debi's Tenant Clinic Corner About Us Since July 2005, The Residential Realty Law Firm provided a wide range of legal services as it related to home ownership. However, on July 1, 2012, The Residential Realty Law Firm became the Law Offices of Debi V. Rumph. Debi pr...

Comments

Charlene Boria Reply

Posted Jun 14, 2024 at 02:04:42

Received an eviction notice today

Debi Rumph Reply

Posted Jun 14, 2024 at 10:08:08

Charlene, we are sorry this is happening to you. Please be careful, and reach out to us if you need our assistance. Please text us at (407) 294-9959 to see if we can assist you.

Maya Blount Reply

Posted Jun 21, 2024 at 15:50:18

If I received a summons on the 17th will I be evicted on the 24th? No clue what to do or how much time I have left

Debi Rumph Reply

Posted Jun 23, 2024 at 06:28:08

Facing an Eviction Summons? Here’s What to Know!!!

Maya, if you received a summons on the 17th, it’s crucial to understand that the eviction process has begun. You won’t be put out on the 24th, but the timeline is uncertain. Whether or not you end up evicted depends on several things:

Your Response is Critical: If you do nothing, the court could issue a default judgment against you, and eviction will likely follow quickly. Responding to the summons with skill within the five business day deadline (weekends don’t count) is the only potential way to force the court to hold a hearing and give you a chance to defend yourself or to buy yourself more time.

The Landlord’s Experience Matters: If they have a lawyer who knows the eviction process well, things might move faster.

Court and Sheriff Backlogs: Courts and sheriff’s offices are often busy, and this can cause delays. Don’t assume slowness means you’re safe; it just means the timeline is uncertain.

The Bottom Line:

This is serious: Don’t take this lightly. Eviction is a legal process, and missing deadlines can have severe consequences.

Focus on the response: Those five business days you have to respond to the summons are the most important right now.

Get help if you need it: Legal aid organizations or lawyers can guide you through the process and protect your rights.

Remember, this information doesn’t replace legal advice. It’s meant to help you understand the situation and take the next steps.

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