Guidelines for Florida
Non-Payment of Rent
note: This information and forms are applicable for residential
Chapter 83 of Florida Statutes provides the steps to follow in an
eviction case. The following information is to assist you with what
documents must be filed and the costs involved in a simple eviction case.
The filing fee, payable
to the Clerk of Court, in Manatee County is $98.00, other counties may vary. Payment may be in the form of cash or
personal check with proper identification.
RHOL includes the basic
forms necessary for evictions for non-payment of rent. This short summary of
the legal procedure
is targeted toward regaining possession of your property. It does not
address the payment or recovery of back rent and damages owed to you.
Step One: Prepare and Serve Three-Day Notice.
Before filing a Complaint to recover
possession, a landlord must serve a
Three-Day Notice demanding
payment of rent or possession of the premises within three (3) days
(excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) after the date of delivery
of notice. After the expiration time on the service of the Three-Day Notice
you may proceed with filing the Complaint for Eviction. (Remember how we
count the days.)
Step Two: Complaint & Summons
The landlord shall file the original Complaint and sufficient copies of the
Complaint for each tenant with the Clerk. The Court must also receive
a copy of the Three-Day Notice and a copy of the lease, if one exists. You
must also attach a copy of the notice and lease to each copy of the
Complaint. The Complaint must be signed in the presence of a deputy clerk or
must be notarized by a notary public.
Issuance of Summons:
After the Complaint is filed and the fee paid, the Clerk will issue an
Eviction Summons/Residential. A copy of the Complaint, three-day notice,
and lease (if one exists) will be attached for service on the tenant. The
Sheriff or a private process server can serve this Summons. The
Manatee County Sheriff’s
fee is $20.00 per tenant and must be in the form of cash or money order.
Other Florida counties may vary. If
paid by cash, you must personally deliver the Summons to the Sheriff’s
Office, Civil Processing Department. Private process server fees vary and
you would contact them directly.
the tenant cannot be reached either personally or by substitute service, the
summons can be served by posting (attaching to a conspicuous part of the
premises). If this occurs, the landlord must request that the Clerk mail the
notice to the tenant by
Certificate of Mailing.
Step Three - Day in
Answer by Tenant:
tenant has five days (exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) after
service of the Summons to file an answer. If an answer is filed and monies
are deposited, the landlord must contact the Court to schedule a hearing.
If the tenant fails to answer the Summons, the landlord may file a Motion
for Default by
Clerk/Default and proceed with obtaining a Final Judgment for Possession and obtain
a Writ of Possession
These forms are included in this e-course.
The Clerk is authorized
to enter a Default at the end of five days after service is obtained upon
the tenant. Upon the default being entered by the Clerk, the Judge will then
review the file and enter the Final Judgment for Possession and
direct the Clerk to issue the Writ of Possession.
Furnish the Clerk with
an original Final Judgment for Possession and a copy for each of the
tenants and yourself. You must also furnish the Clerk with pre-addressed
stamped envelopes to the tenant(s) and yourself for mailing the conformed
copy of the Final Judgment. The Writ of Possession should be presented to
the Clerk for issuance.
Step Four: Wrapping it up
After entry of the Judgment, the Clerk will issue a
Writ of Possession to the Sheriff describing the premises and commanding him
to put the landlord in possession after 24 hours’ notice conspicuously
posted on the premises. The Writ must be served by the Sheriff. The fee
payable to the Sheriff (Manatee County) is $70.00 by money order, check or cash. If cash, you
must personally deliver the cash and the issued Writ to the Sheriff. The
Clerk cannot accept cash payment for the Sheriff.
Please remember that RHOL and Court Clerks are prohibited from giving
specific legal advice. If
you have any doubts about your ability to file an Eviction on your own behalf, you should
seek legal advice from an attorney.
The Clerk’s office is
usually open Monday - Friday from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm. Check your phone
directory for the direct phone number to the County Civil Division.
The County Judge’s phone
number for setting any hearings is also listed in the phone directory Ask
for the Judge assigned to your case.
You must furnish
the appropriate number of copies as stated or your case cannot be filed.
Copies may be purchased from the Clerk for a fee.
Three-day Notice to
Tenant/Demand for Payment or Possession