How to Evict a Roommate Not on the Lease in Florida
Living with a roommate can be a great way to save money on rent and share responsibilities. However, sometimes situations arise where you may need to evict a roommate who is not on the lease. In Florida, there are specific legal steps you must follow to ensure a smooth eviction process. This article will guide you through the process and answer some frequently asked questions.
1. Review your lease agreement: Before taking any action, carefully review your lease agreement to determine if it allows subletting or having additional occupants. If your lease prohibits this, you may have legal grounds to evict your roommate.
2. Communicate with your roommate: Open communication is crucial in resolving any issues. Talk to your roommate about the problems you are facing and try to find a solution. If this fails, proceed to the next steps.
3. Give written notice: In Florida, you must provide your roommate with a written notice to vacate the premises. This notice should state the reason for eviction, the date by which they must vacate, and include the lease termination date. Keep a copy of this notice for your records.
4. Wait for the notice period to expire: Florida law requires a notice period of at least 15 days for monthly tenants and 7 days for weekly tenants. If your roommate does not vacate within this period, you can proceed with the eviction process.
5. File an eviction lawsuit: To legally evict your roommate, you must file an eviction lawsuit in the county where your rental property is located. You can obtain the necessary forms from your local courthouse or online. Fill out the forms accurately and submit them along with the required filing fee.
6. Serve the eviction lawsuit: Once you have filed the lawsuit, you must serve your roommate with a copy of the eviction lawsuit. This can be done by hiring a process server or using certified mail with a return receipt. Make sure to keep proof of service.
7. Attend the eviction hearing: After serving the lawsuit, a court date will be scheduled. Attend the hearing and present your case to the judge. Be prepared to provide evidence, such as a copy of the lease agreement and any written communication with your roommate.
8. Obtain a judgment for possession: If the judge rules in your favor, they will issue a judgment for possession. This means that you have the legal right to take possession of the premises. However, only law enforcement officials can physically remove your roommate.
9. Contact law enforcement: Once you have obtained a judgment for possession, contact your local law enforcement agency to schedule a time for them to accompany you to the property to remove your roommate. It is important to note that law enforcement will only provide assistance; they will not act as movers.
10. Change the locks and secure the property: Once your roommate has been removed, change the locks to prevent them from re-entering the premises. Additionally, ensure the property is secure by checking all windows and doors.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can I simply change the locks to evict my roommate?
No, self-help evictions are illegal in Florida. You must follow the legal eviction process outlined above.
2. Can I evict my roommate without going to court?
No, to legally evict a roommate, you must file an eviction lawsuit and attend a hearing.
3. How long does the eviction process take in Florida?
The eviction process in Florida can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months, depending on various factors.
4. Can I withhold my roommate’s personal belongings until they pay what they owe?
No, withholding personal belongings is illegal. You must follow the proper legal process to evict your roommate.
5. What if my roommate refuses to leave after the eviction judgment?
If your roommate refuses to leave after the judgment, you must contact law enforcement to schedule their removal.
6. Can I evict my roommate for any reason?
No, you can only evict a roommate for reasons allowed under Florida law, such as non-payment of rent or violating the lease agreement.
7. Can I sue my roommate for damages or unpaid rent?
Yes, you can sue your roommate in small claims court for damages or unpaid rent. However, this is a separate legal process from eviction.
In conclusion, evicting a roommate who is not on the lease in Florida requires following specific legal steps to ensure a smooth process. It is essential to review your lease agreement, communicate with your roommate, and provide written notice before proceeding with an eviction lawsuit. Remember to attend the eviction hearing and follow the judgment for possession with law enforcement assistance.