Frequently Asked Questions
- How long does an eviction take?
- What does “uncontested” mean?
- What “costs” are there for an eviction?
- What if my tenant moves out during the eviction?
- Can I collect unpaid rent?
- My tenant has offered me money. Can I take it?
- What if I live out of the area?
- Do you represent tenants, or just landlords?
- Can you prepare and serve notices for me?
The time required to complete an eviction depends on several variables. It takes time to serve notices and the complaint, allow the required time for those notices and summons to expire, together with the clerks processing times and the time that is required for the matter to be placed before the judge for a ruling. Our general estimate of time to completion is usually less than 30 days. We employ couriers and only the most efficient process servers to try to minimize the delay and quickly obtain a judgment for possession.
Uncontested means that your tenant has not filed an answer or other response to the eviction complaint. While tenants do file responses in some evictions, in many instances the court will require the tenant to post the unpaid rent into the court registry before the tenant is entitled to a hearing on their answer or response. In the event it is necessary to have a hearing in the eviction case, you may be responsible for an additional attorney’s fee. Please review your fee agreement carefully for more details and if you have questions, please call.
Court costs vary by county. In Broward County the following costs apply:
- Filing fee $185
- Summons issuance fee, $10 per tenant
- Service of process $40 – $80 per tenant
- Sheriff’s fee $90
- Courier/Runner, $20-30 per trip.
Most tenants don’t wait for the Sheriff’s deputy to physically remove them from the property. As a result, many move out before the eviction process is complete. The problem with dismissing the eviction process prematurly, is that if they come back you may have to let them in and start from the beginning. The Sheriff’s office is only permitted to remove and keep a tenant off your premises when a writ of possession has been issued. If you don’t have the writ and the tenant attempts to get back in the property, the Sheriff’s office may force you to put them back in the property. The only way to ensure your tenant is gone for good is to have your writ issued and served on the property by the Sheriff. They keep a record of the writ and will forceably remove a tenant who tries to get back into the property.
It is possible to collect unpaid rent in the same eviction proceeding. Due to the additional service of process requirements and pleading requirements it has an additional cost. Please inquire with us if you wish to conduct both an action for possession and an action for collection of unpaid rent.
Accepting money from a tenant during an eviction may require you to start the process over. Always advise us if you are contemplating accepting rent from your tenant during an eviction. Prudent alternatives may be to have a written settlement agreement or to have your tenant post the money into the court registry.
We handle lots of evictions for out of town and out of state landlords. We can collect all the necessary paperwork in order to prepare and file your eviction by phone, fax or e-mail. It is very unlikely that you would be required to personally appear. Most cases are resolved without a hearing and therefore do not require any appearance by the landlord. If it does become necessary for someone to personally appear for a hearing, the landlord can appoint someone with personal knowledge, like a property manager or other agent, to appear on their behalf.
Our practice represents residential and commercial landlords and commercial tenants exclusively. If you are a residential tenant and have received a notice from your landlord concerning unpaid rent, termination of your tenancy or notice of a breach of your lease agreement, and you are seeking the advice of a tenant’s attorney, please call the Broward County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at 954-764-8040 (extension 1) or Legal Aid Service of Broward at 954-765-8950.
We would be happy to assist you in preparing and serving your notices (i.e. three day notice to pay rent or quit, notice of termination, notice of breach of lease). Our fee for each notice is $100. The cost for service can vary depending on the property location, but is customarily $40. Multiple notices can be prepared and served simutaneously at a reduced cost, please call for more details. We also provide some free notice forms on our website. While we freely distribute some forms which have been approved by the Supreme Court, we do not offer free advice in properly filling them out. A correctly prepared form is a prerequisite to the filing of an eviction. We suggest that unless you are familiar with properly preparing the notices you should have us prepare them for you. Our preparation includes review of your lease agreement to make sure you comply with both it and Florida law. Additionally, our notices are served by disinterested third party process servers, couriers and runners and therefore can be supported by returns of service or delivery affidavits thereby eliminating the tenant “I didn’t get it” defenses.