What Not to Do When Evicting a Tenant

The eviction process in Florida requires landlords to be diligent and attentive to the law. In our previous blog[LINK TO 1ST FEBRUARY BLOG], we discussed the eviction process in the Sunshine State that must be followed to avoid litigation and liability.

Following Florida Statute 83.56(2) will protect Florida landlords during the eviction process. Statute 83.241 addresses the actual process of evicting a tenant. The statute says “After entry of judgment in favor of plaintiff the clerk shall issue a writ to the sheriff describing the premises and commanding the sheriff to put plaintiff in possession.”

Note that this indicates that the sheriff will be commanded to “put plaintiff in possession.” This does not authorize a landlord to go to the property in question and attempt to regain possession of the property. It only authorizes the sheriff to do so (the sheriff can have other members of law enforcement carry out this process, as well).

Do NOT attempt to physically remove the tenant yourself. An attempt to remove the tenant yourself not only exposes you to physical harm but can also result in criminal charges filed against you. The court has issued a judgment that the tenant must vacate the premises, but the law will need to take care of enforcing that order. Landlords are not agents of the court and cannot take any measure to force a tenant out.

Do NOT attempt to flush a tenant out by changing the locks and/or turning off utilities. This is another common practice we have seen landlords attempt. You are justly allowed to take possession of the property in question but doing anything that could lead to harm to the tenant to do so will also result in criminal charges. Turning off utilities like heat and water creates serious health risks, especially to disabled and aging residents. Changing the locks creates a health risk as you are creating a sudden loss of shelter for an individual and, by law, stealing the possessions that remain inside the property itself.

Florida real estate investors are building a business to foster wealth and provide for their families. Several aspects of the eviction process expose all that hard work to risk and liability, and we do not want that for you or your loved ones. Following the strict guidelines of Florida law will ensure you avoid any and all trouble with the courts. Protect your real estate portfolio and contact Bryant Taylor Law today.

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