How soon can I be evicted

I am currently 21 days behind in rent. My landlord accepted partial payment and the beginning of the month. Yesterday he came and banged on my door then entered without me answering the door and without my permission. How long do I have and do I have any recourse?

Asked on May 21, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Florida


N. K., Member, Iowa and Illinois Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The landlord must first serve you with a written 3-day notice allowing you 3 days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and holidays) to pay the remaining rent that you owe.

If you don't pay, then the landlord can begin legal action to evict you. This is done by the filing of a Complaint for Eviction in court. You are then served with a Summons, which you have 5 days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and holidays) to answer. In your answer, you can state whatever defenses you may have, such as the fact that the landlord accepted partial payment, etc.. Whether this defense works is doubtful but it's worth a try. A court date is set for a hearing.

If you fail to answer the Summons, the landlord can obtain a Default Judgment against you for eviction.

How long the process takes depends on how fast the court hears these cases.

Perhaps you can avoid all this by trying to make arrangements with the landlord to pay the rest of the rent by a certain time. Most landlords don't like to go through the time and expense of an eviction. If this is your first time being late, and you can show the landlord that you can pay your rent in a timely manner after this, then you have a chance to avoid possible eviction.

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