Collier County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Civil Department
3315 Tamiami Trail East, Ste. 102
Naples, FL 34112-5324
Phone: (239) 252-2646
Email: Civil Department

 

Evictions

Failure To Make PaymentsLandlord Failure To ComplyLandlord Failure To Comply

COVID-19 Notice

With the expiration of the Governor’s Executive Order 20-211, tenants facing eviction may have options available to them pursuant to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Order Temporarily Halting Evictions. Please be advised that the Clerk cannot provide legal advice and has no role in reviewing or evaluating court filings or CDC declaration forms to determine whether an eviction case falls under the CDC directive; that duty falls to the parties to an action and the Court. Please contact an attorney if you have any questions about this or need legal assistance.

Tenant & Landlord Information

When a person pays rent to live in a dwelling, the renter becomes an equal party with the landlord. A tenant has certain rights and responsibilities under Florida law. Leases may be either written or oral. The Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act prevails over what a lease says.

If the landlord contends that the tenant has violated the rental agreement, the landlord must inform the tenant in writing (per FL law even if the lease agreement is oral) of the specific problem and give the tenant time to correct the problem. Tenants receiving a nonpayment-of-rent notice should be aware that a landlord may accept part of the rent owed and still evict the tenant.

If the tenant commits a serious act endangering the property (such as committing a crime on the premises) or fails to correct a problem after written notice from the landlord, the landlord still must go to court to be permitted to evict the tenant. In any court proceeding, tenants have the absolute right to be present, argue their case and be represented by an attorney.

The landlord must get a court order of eviction before interfering with the tenant’s occupancy. No eviction can occur until the landlord first gives the tenant notice of the problem and then gets a court order.

Failure To Pay Rent

If the Tenant fails to pay rent when due and the default continues for three (3) days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) after delivery of written demand for payment or possession of premises by landlord, the Landlord may terminate the rental agreement. This written demand is a prerequisite to an action to evict the Tenant or recover past due rent. Your written rental agreement may have allowed for a longer period than three days and should be reviewed.

This notice may be delivered by mail or by delivering a copy to the dwelling unit, or, if the Tenant is absent from the dwelling unit, by leaving a copy thereof at the dwelling unit.

After Posting The Notice

After the appropriate number of days has passed and landlord is seeking eviction of the tenant(s), landlord may now file an eviction case with the Collier County Clerk of Courts.

The Landlord will be the Plaintiff in the action and will file a Complaint with attachments (the 3-day Notice and Lease Agreement, if applicable) and Summons. Once the case is opened and the filing fees paid, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office will serve the tenant/defendant with the summons.

The Tenant will have:

  • 5 days (excluding the date of service, Saturday, Sunday or legal holidays), after date of service, to file a written response to the Complaint for eviction OR
  • 20 days (excluding the date of service, Saturday, Sunday or legal holidays) after date of service to file a written response to a Complaint for Back Rent and Damages

Tenant Filed An Answer

If an Answer or Motion has been filed by a Tenant, the Landlord/Plaintiff may set the case for a Non-Jury Trial by filing a Notice For Non-Jury Trial.

Tenant Didn’t File An Answer

If Tenant fails to file a written response, Landlord is entitled to a judgment by default. Obtaining the judgment is a two-step process.

First, a Clerk’s default should be obtained by delivering to the Collier County Clerk of Courts a Motion for Clerk’s Default with the appropriate number of copies and self-addressed stamped envelopes (unless e-filing). NOTE: A completed Affidavit of Military Status must be filed in order to issue a default.

Second, when the Landlord/Plaintiff files the Motion for Final Default Judgment and Affidavit of Damages, if applicable, a Final Default Judgment can now be obtained. Landlord/Plaintiff will need to submit the final Default Judgment with addressed stamped envelopes for all parties to Court Administration on the 5th Floor of the Collier County Courthouse (this form cannot be e-filed).

After the Final Default Judgment is entered, the Plaintiff can submit a Writ of Possession, along with the Sheriff’s service fee to the Clerk. The defendant(s) will have 24 hours from the time the Sheriff executes the Writ of Possession to vacate the premises.

Tenant’s Right To Withold Rent

You may be able to withhold rent if your landlord fails to do what the law or lease requires.

This can be done only when the landlord fails to comply with an important responsibility, such as providing a safe and habitable home in compliance with local housing codes.

Before rent is withheld, tenant must give written notice by mail, preferably certified, at least 7 days before the rent is due to allow time to remedy the problem.

If the problem is not corrected within 7 days from the date of service and you withhold the rent, the landlord may take you to court to collect it. Under these circumstances, tenant must pay the rent into the court registry, pending the judge’s determination in the case.

Tenant’s Failure To Comply With Agreement

A landlord may be able to evict a tenant for failure to comply with the lease agreement.

The first step a Landlord must take is to provide written notice to tenant(s) to vacate the dwelling by posting a 7 Day Notice for Non-Compliance of Lease.

After Posting The Notice

After the appropriate number of days has passed (excluding the date of service, Saturday, Sunday or legal holidays) the Plaintiff may file an Eviction case with the Clerk of Courts. Landlord/Plaintiff should file a Complaint with attachments (the 7-day Notice and Lease Agreement if applicable) along with a Summons with the appropriate number of copies and addressed envelopes with sufficient postage (See chart below for number of copies and envelopes). Note: If filing a case by mail, include a self-addressed postage-paid envelope for return of Certificate of Mailing for your records.

Once the case has been opened and the filing fees have been paid, the Sheriff will serve the Tenant/Defendant with the Summons. The Defendant(s) will have 5 days (excluding the date of service, Saturday, Sunday or legal holidays) to answer the summons.

Tenant’s Filed An Answer

If an Answer or Motion was filed by the Tenant/Defendant, the Landlord/Plaintiff may set the case for a Non-Jury Trial by filing a Notice For Non-Jury Trial.

Tenant Didn’t File An Answer

If by the sixth day there is no response from the Tenant/Defendant, the Landlord/Plaintiff may file for a Default. The Landlord/Plaintiff will need to deliver or e-file a Motion for Default, Motion for Final Default Judgment and a Non-military Affidavit.

 

 

 

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