This is part of an ongoing series about how I became the owner of a rental property in Florida while living in Utah, and all the adventures I have had along the way. If you’re just joining me now, you can check out the first installments here:
- Life As A Landlord – The Beginning
- Life As A Landlord – The Approval Process
- Life As A Landlord – Down Payment And Closing
- Life As A Landlord – Loose Ends
- Life As A Landlord – Classic Problems
- Life As A Landlord – Where is the rent!?
Yesterday my story of buying a rental property in Florida got to the part where rent stopped coming in and the E word came up – eviction. Today I’ll go through what the eviction process was like.
I don’t know why, but I never expected to have to evict a tenant. I thought that was just something that happens in the movies but when rent stopped coming in from my tenants, the management company told me we would have to evict them.
Eviction is a four letter word
The thought of not having a tenant in my rental was really scary. How would I pay the bills? How long would it take to get a new tenant? I didn’t even think about what condition the property might be left in.
So I tried to fight for my tenant. They were only a month behind or so and were paying a little here and there, no big deal right? Some money is better than no money and what if the property sat vacant for months after my current tenant is evicted.
The management company brought up eviction after every time they tried to visit the house and get the rent so finally I called and talked to them about it.
I had never been through an eviction and had no clue what the process is like, and that’s exactly what I told them. The guy on the other line was a smooth talker. He assured me everything would be fine and told me some of the details of the eviction process:
Eviction in Florida takes about 8 weeks after the 3 day notice is sent to the house and filed with the courts. It’s a pro-tenant state meaning no tenant can be evicted until everything goes through the courts first.
The process would go something like this. The management company would serve a 3 day notice of eviction to the tenant, then all documentation would have to be shown to the judge. Once the judge signed off on the eviction, the sheriff would be notified and within a few days of that, the sheriff would actually go to the house and remove the tenants.
So we got the process started. The management company served the eviction notice but hmm, surprise! The tenant showed up at the management company just a day later with a check for the rent.
What does that mean. Are my tenants just holding out on me?
I’ll never know but this happened for a few more months. Each month the tenant would avoid the management companies calls and visits and not send the rent check. Once the 3 day eviction notice was placed on their door, they would drop the check off and we would be square (aside from their late payments owed).
The management company told me their plan was to put up the eviction notice, and once the months rent was paid, we would evict them anyway based on past due rent. That way we would get a months rent and also get to keep the security deposit which would help defray some of the costs of getting the place cleaned out and a new tenant signed.
But each month after the eviction notice was posted and rent was delivered, I’d ask the management company if the eviction process was moving forward and they’d tell me that people just aren’t moving in right now so we should wait and see how next month looked. I was somewhat confused by this but rent was coming in kind of regularly again so I was ok with waiting. Then rent just stopped again.
The three day notice of eviction was posted and no rent showed up. A week passed and still nothing. So we pressed forward with the eviction.
It went just as expected but waiting nearly 8 weeks for the tenant to be removed felt like time was standing still. Finally I got the word that the sheriff was on his way to physically remove the tenant and we could get things cleaned up and back on the market.
When the sheriff got there though, the tenants were already gone. They did however leave something for us…a disaster to clean up before the house could be put back up for rent.
Image by rickonine