Today we are talking about what happens when an Orlando tenant stops paying rent. This is the most dreaded issue and scenario for landlords. No one likes evictions because they cost you time and money. When you charge $1,000 for rent and you’re not collecting it, you are losing $33 per day. If your tenant isn’t paying and isn’t responding, you have to evict.
3 Day Notice
If rent is due on the first of the month and late on the second and you have no money from your tenant, your first legal line of defense is called a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate. This means exactly what it says – the tenant has three days to pay rent or leave the property.
Summons and Complaint
If the seventh or eighth of the month rolls around and you still have no rent from your tenant, your next step is to file a Summons and Complaint with the clerk of the court. In this complaint, you’ll tell the court that you and your tenant have a legal agreement – your lease – and the tenant is not living up to it. The sheriff will deliver the summons to the tenant and then the tenant has two choices; either to pay within five days or put something in writing that explains why rent has not been paid. In the worst case scenario, you’ll get no response at all from the tenant.
Writ of Possession
When you get to the middle of the month – the 17th or 18th and rent still hasn’t been paid, you take the last step, which is submitting a motion of default. When you do that, you’ll receive a Writ of Possession from the court. Post that Writ on the door or serve it to the tenant. At that point, the tenant has 24 hours to vacate, or their possessions will be put on the curb and you’ll get your home back.
Legal steps must be followed in order to successfully evict a tenant. You cannot change the locks or turn off the electricity. We hear a lot of horror stories about eviction, but knowledge and quick turnaround can reduce time and cost. When you do the eviction properly, it will cost you about $330 and three and a half to four weeks.
The key to preventing evictions is by doing a thorough background check on every potential tenant. Take the time to screen and always collect a healthy security deposit that’s the equivalent of at least one month. If you do have to evict, make it public. Don’t let other landlords get burned by the same tenant.
If you have any questions about evictions, please contact us at Russell Properties and we’d be glad to tell you more.
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- Rob Russell