Eviction is the legal procedure a landlord must follow to remove a tenant from the landlord's property. Although there may be various types of evictions, the Clerk has information and forms available for residential evictions as outlined below; with or without a rental agreement. A person seeking evictions for commercial, agricultural, or personal property leases can research the laws on their own at the Law Library, online or consult with an attorney.
- Eviction for non-payment of rent
- Eviction for non-compliance of lease
Florida Statute Chapter 83 provides general information on residential landlord/tenant actions. Landlord actions typically involve non-payment of rent and recovering possession of the rental property. You should carefully review this section of the law before starting any legal action on your own.
Landlord and Tenant Cases
- Eviction Answer – Filed by Tenants
Self-represented litigants (Without an attorney)
Self-represented litigants, also referred to as pro se litigants, have the option of filing court cases electronically through the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal.
The benefits of e-filing include the ability to access forms on the portal and file upon completion, the flexibility to file from work or home 24 hours a day/7 days a week, the ability to receive email notifications each time a document is filed, and the confidence that your documents have been received through receipt of e-portal filing confirmations via email.
To learn more, or to register as a self-represented litigant, visit the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal.
Rights and Responsibilities for an Eviction Action
For information on your rights and responsibilities, visit the consumer pamphlet located on the Florida Bar Association’s website.
The Steps of an Eviction
The following information is provided only to inform you of which documents must be filed, and the cost involved in a simple residential eviction case. The Clerk may help you navigate through court processes and refer you to resources, but we are prohibited by law to provide legal advice. The flowchart for possession and flowchart for damages are available to walk you through the eviction process.
Forms for residential evictions as outlined below are located on the Florida Bar Association’s website and can be downloaded for free or purchased from the Clerk’s office for $0.15 per page.
Notice Requirements for Residential Evictions
Before filing a Complaint for Eviction, a landlord must serve the tenant(s) with a notice demanding payment of rent or possession of the premises within the required amount of days. Do not include day of delivery, weekends, or holidays when calculating time.
You may serve the Notice by a private process server, who will supply the Affidavit of Service; through certified, return receipt mail, signed by the tenant; or it can be posted in a conspicuous place on the property. The landlord should retain a copy of the notice.
<3 day notice> Notice from Landlord to Tenant – Termination for Failure to Pay Rent
<7 day notice> Notice from Landlord to Tenant – Notice of Noncompliance for matters other than Failure to Pay Rent
If the tenant does not comply within the time allowed pursuant to the notice the landlord may file an eviction complaint with the Clerk's office. A copy of the notice must accompany the complaint at the time of filing.
Filing the Complaint with the Clerk
If the tenant did not comply with the notice and the landlord chooses to move forward with the eviction:
- Determine how to serve the tenant. A list of process servers can be found at www.circuit5.org/process-server.
- Please review the fee schedule for filing fees and cost of summons
- Make copies of all documents for all parties prior to filing; copies provided by the Clerk’s office are $1.00 per page pursuant to F.S. 28.24.
- To file, gather the following documents for filing with the Clerk:
- Complaint for Tenant Eviction
- Copy of the statutory Notice to Tenant
- Copy of Lease/Rental Agreement, if applicable, plus two copies for each tenant
- Filing fee in form of cash, check, money order, payable to Citrus County, Clerk of the Circuit Court, or credit card. There is a third-party vendor surcharge for using a credit card.
- Optional unless the notice was posted: One stamped, legal size envelope addressed to each tenant for mailing a copy of the complaint, summons and lease to the defendant. Make sure you use sufficient postage.
- Property management agreement, if applicable
- Notify the deputy clerk as to how the documents will be served
- File documents with the Clerk’s office
- Florida statutes allow landlords or their attorney to file the complaint. It also allows an authorized agent, such as a property manager, to initiate an eviction proceeding; however, the agent may not take any additional action unless the agent is an attorney.
- The Clerk will issue a summons for tenant eviction. A copy of the filed documents will be attached for service on the tenant.
Serving the Summons on the Tenant
The summons and copies of the case are to be served to the tenant(s).
- If service by posting is anticipated or becomes necessary, two additional copies of the Complaint, supporting documents and two pre-stamped envelopes must be provided pursuant to F.S. 83.22(2).
Before a hearing can be set, the Proof of Service must be returned to the Clerk and Comptroller's office for filing, to determine whether the summons was served.
The documents are provided to the process server for service with their service fee. Once served, a return of service which documents the date/time the tenant was served will be filed with the Clerk’s office. The tenant must file an original answer to the summons with the Clerk's office with copies to the plaintiff within five (5) days, not including weekends or legal holidays.
Answer by the Tenant
The tenant has five days (exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) after service of the summons to file a written answer to the eviction complaint filed against them. This answer can be filed electronically via the Florida Courts ePortal, through US Mail, or in person at the Clerk’s office.
Should the tenant choose to deposit rent as outlined in the Summons, the deposit plus court registry fees* must be in cash, money order, cashier's check, or a check drawn on an attorney's trust account. This deposit is to be made payable to the Citrus County Clerk of Court and Comptroller’s office and will be deposited into the court registry.
*Pursuant to F.S. 28.24(10)(a), court registry fees apply to the deposited amount, and are calculated at 3% for the first $500 and 1.5% for the remaining amount.
Whether or not the tenant files an Answer within the required time frame, the landlord has the ability to move the case forward by filing the appropriate paperwork and requesting a hearing from the court if applicable.
Requesting Judgment for Eviction
After the five (5) days have elapsed, if the tenant fails to respond, you may file the applicable final judgment. Upon review, the court may set the case for hearing, enter an order based upon the pleadings or grant the landlord possession of the property.
Obtaining Writ of Possession
If the judge grants possession to the landlord and the tenant does not vacate the premises, the landlord may file the writ of possession with the Clerk’s office along with the appropriate Sheriff’s fee for service.
The landlord may decide at any time to dismiss the case. This will not affect the ability to start new proceedings with the applicable filing fees if the tenant again fails to pay the rent on time. If the landlord chooses to dismiss the proceedings and a hearing has been scheduled, they must contact the Judge before the final hearing date. Should the landlord decide not to attend the proceeding and does not dismiss the case, a future hearing will be scheduled for Lack of Prosecution.
Voluntary dismissal of a case will result in forfeiture of any fees paid by the landlord.