Since the cost of living has skyrocketed, more people are now looking for ways to save money and still lead a comfortable lifestyle. One way to get started is by sharing a room with a friend. Whether you are working or in college, you can readily share a room with a friend or a colleague and save a dime. For the first few months or years, everything might be rosy until something happens, and the only way to solve it is to evict your roommate. Regardless of how good your roommate is, at some point, you may find yourself evicting him or her. When it comes to evictions, different states in the US have different eviction procedures. If you reside in Florida, there are certain factors that will influence how you ought to evict a roommate here. In this article, we shall take a closer look at how to evict a roommate in Florida and other related ideas.
Reasons To Evict Your Roommate
No one really wishes to evict his or her roommate with no just cause. There must be a reason that prompted him or her to do so. When it comes to the grounds of evict a roommate, there are many reasons that can prompt you to do so in Florida. Some of these reasons include:
1. Failure to pay rent
Most people usually opt to live with a roommate so that they can cost-share rent, among other monthly expenses. Although your roommate may have agreed to pay half the rent in the beginning, there are some instances when he or she may refuse to pay the rent as agreed.
Other times, he may opt to pay the rent in piece meals and thus alter your budget by a large margin. If you had a verbal agreement and you recorded everything that you had said during that moment, you can produce that evidence in a court of law so as to justify the reason for initiating an eviction process.
2. Violating the rental agreement in some way
Besides not being able to pay rent as agreed, you can now evict a roommate in Florida if he or she has violated the rental agreement in a number of ways. When it comes to the sublease rental agreement, different people will have different terms and conditions.
If you have to rent a room or share a room with your friend, you have to know these terms so that you can avoid going against them. Remember that if you had entered into a sublease agreement and the roommate violates any term stipulated in the rental agreement, you can go ahead and evict him or her.
If the rental agreement was not written, you might have a difficult time proving this allegation in a court of law. Unless you recorded everything that you both agreed on when the roommate came into your house, you might have a difficult time proving spoken word in a court of law, as the court relies on facts and not essentially the truth behind different issues.
3. Damaging the property
If by any chance, your roommate starts damaging the house that both of you and him live in, you cannot fold your arms and watch him to carry on with such unbecoming behavior. Since the landlord knows that you are the only person who rented that house, you will be liable for any damages caused on the house.
Whether it is the bathroom or the kitchen that got damaged, you may have to pay for the damages caused. To avert such costs, you may have to evict the roommate so that he can live elsewhere out there.
4. Posing a threat to the safety of your kids
If your roommate is a threat to your kids, you may have no other alternative other than to evict him. After all, the last thing you would wish to imagine or experience is to your kid getting harmed by another person, while you can offer the much-needed protection to them. For instance, if the roommate is threatening to assault or rape your kid, you may be prompted to evict him on the go.
5. Engaging in criminal activities
From cybercrimes to robbery with violence, there are many kinds of crimes one can engage in and earn money. The bad news is that you might be a target for the law enforcers as they might be looking for you from one estate to another.
If your roommate engages in such crimes, it is advisable that you evict him or her as you may be one of the persons of interest in such cases. By doing so, you will be safe from such problems.
Can I Legally Evict My Roommate In Florida?
Although we have outlined the various grounds on which you can evict your roommate, it is essential that you know the circumstances in which you can legally evict him or her in Florida. To start with, the decision to evict your roommate will be based on the living situation that you had with him or her. Under the ‘roommate’ umbrella, there are different living situations that you can opt for and will have a direct impact on the eviction decision therein. These include:
1. Are you both on a lease?
If both of you are on a lease, you will have no authority to evict him or her. When it comes to eviction, the authority solely lies with the landlord and not you. Although the landlord has the capacity to evict you, there must be legally valid reasons as to why he wants to evict either of you.
From not being paying rent to using the premises for the wrong purposes, there are a plethora of reasons that can prompt him to do so. However, if the roommate is violent or is threatening to kill you or your loved ones, you may consider getting a restraining order, and he will be evicted immediately. However, if you and the roommate are on a lease agreement, he or she is a co-tenant and has as much right to live in that house or apartment as you do.
2. You are the only one on the lease?
Unlike the previous scenario that we have illustrated above, you may be the only person on a lease agreement. In this case, your roommate is not. If this is the case, you will be the master tenant, and your roommate will technically be the subtenant.
Since you are the one who signed a lease agreement exclusively with the landlord, you will have the upper hand when it comes to eviction. In most cases, the roommate will be under you and will pay the rent to you as agreed. If the roommate goes against the written sublease agreement that outlines his duties and responsibilities in the house, you will have sufficient grounds to evict him or her.
3. The roommate is on the lease, but you are not
Sometimes, the roommate may be the person on the lease, and you are not. Here, you will be the one subletting. If this is the situation, you may not have many options as far as the eviction of your roommate is concerned. This can be attributed to the fact that your roommate will have the master tenant status, and thus, the lease agreement only exists between him and the landlord. Since you are the subtenant, you will not be at liberty to evict him or her.
If you still want to evict such a roommate, you may have to talk to the landlord directly. Here, you have to convince the landlord that your roommate is actually a sub-optimal tenant and you are the best. If there is a justifiable reason why you want to evict the roommate, the landlord may hear you and thus aid you in the entire eviction process.
4. There is no written lease
Unlike the scenarios we have illustrated above, sometimes, you may not have a written lease agreement between you, your roommate, and the landlord. In such cases, the lease can be by word of mouth. Such tenancy agreements are commonly known as at-will tenancies.
If this is the case, you may have an easier time evicting the roommate in case he was the one who used to pay the rent to you, and then you pay it to the landlord directly. Technically, you will be able to establish that you are the master tenant and thus will have an upper hand as far as evicting your roommate is concerned.
However, proving that you are the only one who pays rent in a court of law and there is no written lease agreement might complicate issues when evicting your roommate. Here, the court may deny you the court-ordered eviction and thus hinder you from evicting the roommate as intended.
How To Evict A Roommate Who Lives Within Florida
When evicting your roommate who lives in Florida, there is a series of steps that you should follow. To start with, you should establish the reason why you want to evict the roommate. Whether the roommate does not pay the rent as agreed or has started becoming a threat to your kids or loved ones, there are many reasons that can prompt you to evict him or her. Here are the steps that you should follow so that you can legally evict a roommate in Florida.
1. Issue a 15-day eviction notice
If you are the master tenant, you can now issue a written notice 15 days before the month comes to an end. This is usually the case if you are in a month-to-month tenancy. If you are on a lease agreement, you have to issue the notice 60 days before the lease comes to an end.
However, the periods outlined above may vary depending on the reasons why you want to evict the roommate. For instance, if the roommate has not paid the rent as agreed, you will have to issue a 3 day written eviction. On the other hand, you can issue a 7 day written notice for other breaches.
If the roommate works on the reason for being evicted within the notice period, you can continue living with him or her. As we speak, you can now visit the Florida Bar’s website and then download a notice for failure to pay rent as agreed or for noncompliance with other renal agreement terms.
All the above-mentioned notices have to be served as per the Florida law. To put this into perspective, you should hand over the notice directly to the roommate. This is because mailing the notice is not enough. He may claim that he has not yet received the notice, and this might weaken your eviction case.
2. File eviction papers in Florida
Once you have served the roommate with an eviction notice and has failed to cure her default within that given time period, you may have no other alternative other than to file an eviction complaint with the local county court clerk. Depending on your county, the filing fees may vary. However, in most counties, it will cost $185 or thereabout.
While filing an eviction complaint, you need to bring 5 copies of your lease and 5 copies of the eviction notice you served the roommate. Besides this, you will be required to file these with your county clerk.
After that, you will be able to obtain a stamped copy of the Summons and Complaint that is signed by a representative of the county clerk. Thereafter, your roommate with a copy of this document.
However, this copy is not served casually. This means that you will not serve this document directly to your roommate. Instead, this undertaking has to be done by a 3rd party. For optimal results, you can consider hiring a process server. Better still, you can consider asking the county sheriff to do it on your behalf.
Once the roommate is served with a copy of the Summons and Complaint, he or she has 5 days for him to respond or defend himself or herself. If he responds or not, your next destination will be in a court of law.
3. Go to the court
Unlike other evictions, a Florida eviction is not a walk in the park. Whether your roommate chooses to contest it or not, be sure that you may need to hire an attorney to represent you in court of law. This is because you may not be conversant with the laws that govern your state.
Since the roommate may want to get justice on his end, he or she may contest the eviction. If the roommate does this, he will be responsible for filing his own papers with the county clerk. Typically, he will be aiming to stop the eviction process, which you have already initiated. In case he chooses to contest the eviction, both of you have to appear in a court of law.
Typically, the court of law will schedule an eviction hearing, where both of you will present your arguments. The judge will finally make a ruling upon hearing the arguments from both sides. Since you have a lawyer, be sure that he will help you gather all the necessary documents that can prove that you had a right to evict the roommate. From bank statements to evidence that your roommate breached a certain term in the sublease agreement, there are different pieces of evidence that you should present in a court of law.
For instance, if the roommate had damaged the house that both of you had rented, you can bring photographs to prove the same. All these documents are meant to show that there you had established a relationship with the roommate, and due to one reason or another, you want to evict him or her.
As this happens, remember that the roommate can still contest the eviction. If this is the case, the process can continue for a couple of days or even months. However, if the roommate refuses to contest the eviction, you want a default judgment from the court, be sure that you will have an easier time evicting the roommate.
Once you prove your case and the judgment favors you, the roommate will then be given an order of eviction, commonly known as a writ of restitution. Here, the roommate will have a particular number of days to leave your house or apartment.
If the roommate refuses to leave your house within those stipulated number of days, you can consider providing the writ of restitution to your county sheriff. After that, the sheriff will be able to remove the roommate from your house by force. Finally, you will be a free person!
It is important to note that an eviction proceeding in Florida can take about 4 to 6 weeks. However, if the roommate does not contest it, it may take a little bit shorter time and thus allow you to enjoy your freedom sooner than you expect.
See more : What happens after an eviction judgement ?
The last thing you would wish to do is to evict your roommate. However, such decisions are prompted by a number of reasons. From not being able to pay the rent as agreed to damaging the property that you both live in, there is a myriad of reasons why you may opt to evict a roommate in Florida. Just like you would do in other states, it is essential that you follow the right procedure when evicting your roommate in Florida. The steps mentioned above can help you evict the roommate with minimal or no drama at all. Consequently, you will be a free person and enjoy the much-needed peace of mind in your apartment or house.