What Is the Eviction Process in Orlando?
The Orlando eviction process is governed by Chapter 83 of the Florida statutes. From start to finish, the entire process can be summarized in seven steps. An attorney can help you with the entire process from start to finish.
Step 1: 3 Day Notice
First, the landlord needs to post a 3-day notice to pay rent or vacate. The 3-day notice gives the tenant three business days to pay or move out. If they do neither, then on the 4th business day, the landlord can file for eviction at the county courthouse.
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Step 2: Complaint
The second step is filing the eviction complaint at the courthouse. The eviction complaint asks the court to do two things: (1) return possession to the owner of the property and (2) award damages–usually past rent due–to the owner. Attached to the complaint is the written lease, if there is one, and a copy of the 3-day notice from Step 1.
Step 3: Summons
After we file the eviction complaint, the Clerk of the Court will issue a Summons document. This usually takes 1-2 business days.
Step 4: Service
Your attorney will hire a process server to serve a copy of the Complaint and Summons onto the tenant. The tenant will have five business days to respond in writing and pay the rent owed to the court registry.
Step 5: Default
The vast majority of the time, the tenant does not both respond to the Complaint and deposit money with the registry. In that case, the attorney will apply for a default judgment.
Step 6: Ex-Parte Court Hearing
We’ll obtain the default judgment at a court hearing due to the tenant’s failure to respond as required by law.
Step 7: Writ of Possession
With the default judgment, your attorney will have the Clerk of the Court issue a Writ of Possession. The county sheriff’s office will then post the Writ, giving the tenant 24 hours to move out. Once those 24 hours have expired, the Sheriff will meet the landlord at the property, and the landlord will be able to legally retake possession.
The CDC eviction ban expired as of August 2021, but the CDC then reinstated the ban until October 3, 2021. The Supreme Court, however, has allowed evictions for nonpayment of rent to continue.
In most circumstances, the ban prevented landlords in Orlando (and nationwide) from evicting tenants due to nonpayment of rent.
Florida does not itself impose any eviction restrictions due to COVID.
Defenses to Eviction
Under Florida law, tenants can sometimes assert defenses to an eviction. However, the law imposes strict prerequisites that the tenant must meet to be able to claim the defense:
Suppose the tenant wants to assert that the landlord has failed to maintain the premises according to section 83.51. In that case, the tenant must first provide the landlord with seven days’ notice with an opportunity to fix the issue. The tenant cannot raise the issue for the first time in defense of an eviction.
Regardless of the property’s condition or whatever defenses the tenant may have, in all evictions, the tenant must pay to the Court registry all rent owed at the time of the eviction and any rent that becomes due during the eviction process. Failure to pay the rent constitutes a waiver of all defenses.
This requirement to deposit rent into the registry is strictly construed by the court system and has been upheld by various appellate courts throughout Florida. In fact, the requirement is one of the most landlord-friendly laws in the country.