A residential landlord/tenant action applies to the rental of non-commercial dwelling unit with or without a rental agreement. It involves an action filed by a landlord against a tenant for common disputes dealing with payment of rent and/or non-compliance or breach of a lease or rental agreement.
Florida Statutes Chapter 83 provides additional 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.
Before filing the complaint, notice must be served to the tenant(s) by posting, by hand delivery or by mail.
Additional information, forms, and fee schedules are available through the links provided to the right.
The Clerk’s office cannot assist you with the filing of evictions. For legal assistance, please visit the Self-Help Center, where an attorney may be able to provide assistance.
Steps of an Eviction
1. Notice of Eviction
The landlord must provide a 3-day notice of eviction to pay rent due or vacate premises. Do not include day of delivery, weekends or holidays when calculating time. Notice may be posted on the door of the rental property or hand delivered to the tenant. If the tenant does not comply with the notice in the time allowed pursuant to the notice the landlord may file an Eviction Complaint with the Clerk. A copy of the 3-day notice must accompany the complaint at the time of filing.
When there is not a rental agreement, you must give the tenant a 7-day or 15-day notice to vacate. If the rent is paid weekly you must give a 7-day notice. If the rent is paid monthly you must give a 15-day notice. If the tenant does not comply within the time allowed pursuant to the notice the landlord may file an eviction complaint with the Clerk. A copy of the 7-day or 15-day notice must accompany the complaint at the time of filing.
If there is a rental agreement and the tenants are in violation of it (other than for non-payment of rent), you may give the tenant a 7-day noncompliance notice. The notice gives the tenant seven days to remedy the noncompliance or the rental agreement may be terminated. A copy of the noncompliance notice must accompany the complaint at the time of filing.
2. Filing Your Complaint for Eviction
Compile the following items and file the complaint with the Clerk. Make copies of all forms and paperwork for your records. Please provide a telephone number on your complaint in the event the Clerk's office or Sheriff's office needs to contact you.
- Complaint for Tenant Eviction
- Copy of the statutory Notice to Tenant
- Copy of Lease/Rental Agreement, if applicable, plus two copies for each tenant
- Filing Fee in form of cash, check, money order, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover payable to Lee County, Clerk of Court.
- Service of Summons Fee for each tenant (defendant) in the form of cashier's check, money order or business check and payable to Lee County Sheriff
- One stamped, legal size envelope addressed to each tenant for mailing a copy of the complaint, summons and lease to the defendant. Make sure you use sufficient postage.
- Proof of ownership
- Property management agreement
Serving of the Summons on the Tenant
Once served, the tenant must comply with the instructions on the summons and file an original answer to your summons with the Clerk with copies to you within five days of receipt of the summons, not including weekends or legal holidays.
Getting a Judgment for an Eviction
If the tenant fails to respond, you may complete and file a motion for default, a motion for final judgment and the final judgment, provided in the Landlord/Tenant packet. The court will review the pleadings and may either set the case for hearing, enter an order based upon the pleadings or grant the landlord possession of the property. If the tenant files an answer to your summons and deposits funds due into the court registry, the court may schedule your case for hearing.
Obtaining a Writ/Warrant of Possession
If the tenant does not vacate after the final judgment has been entered, you may execute the writ of possession by submitting the fee by mail or by picking up the writ in person. The Sheriff requires a fee to serve the writ of possession. See Fees & Costs for current fees.