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Landlord/Tenant Actions



A residential landlord/tenant action applies to the rental of a non-commercial dwelling unit and is an action filed by a landlord against a tenant on common disputes such as payment of rent, non-compliance or breach of a lease or rental agreement.

A landlord (the owner or lessor of a dwelling) may file a residential landlord action against a tenant (a person entitled to occupy a dwelling unit under a rental agreement). If you have a commercial, agricultural or personal property lease, you should consult an attorney for the proper procedures to resolve disputes.

Landlord/tenant actions involving money amounts only and that are under $5,000 (five thousand dollars) can be filed in Small Claims Court. Evictions or other breach of lease issuses must be filed in County Court.

Before you can file a residential landlord/tenant action, proper written notice must first be given to the tenant.  The form of the notice will depend on the landlord's reason for terminating the lease.



  • Download "Landlord and Tenant Eviction for Residential Property" FORMS

    OR

  • GET ONLINE HELP WITH COMPLETING LANDLORD/TENANT, DIVORCE &/OR SMALL CLAIMS FORMS

    The Clerk's Self Help Center for affordable legal services offers limited attorney consultations to pro se or self-represented litigants (i.e. those people who do not plan to have an attorney represent them in court). Form packets may also be purchased at the Clerk's Self Help Center.

    More information about landlord and tenant responsibilities can be found on the Division of Consumer Services website, http://www.800helpfla.com/landlord_text.html


    Information from the St. Petersburg Times is available: In Adobe Acrobat format, HERE.
    In Microsoft Word format, HERE.

    Commonly Asked Questions:

    1. Where can I get copies of the notices required?
    2. After I give proper written notice, what do I have to do?
    3. Do I need an attorney?
    4. Will I need to go to court?
    5. Is there other information available on collecting the final judgment ?
    6. What if I want someone who is living with me, such as a roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend or family member removed and there is no rental agreement?


     
    Q1. WHERE CAN I GET COPIES OF THE DIFFERENT NOTICES REQUIRED?

    There are forms landlords will need to send to tenants to terminate the lease and evict the tenant and forms for tenants to use to give notice to the landlord to end the lease or withhold rent payments.

    The Clerk's Office Civil Court Records departments and Self Help Centers have forms designed for use in the event of common residential/landlord disputes available for purchase. Additionally, a packet of forms can be obtained online, HERE. If you have difficulty filling out the forms, you may use the Clerk's online, automated form completion help for a fee by clicking here. OR if you would like to consult with an attorney and have an attorney review your forms before filing them, you may visit the Clerk's Self Help Center for affordable legal services to schedule an appointment with an attorney for $15 for 15 minutes.


     
    Q 2. AFTER I GIVE PROPER WRITTEN NOTICE, WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?

    In order to file a landlord action, you must file a complaint and provide summonses for the Clerk  to issue to each tenant.  The issued summons(es) will be returned to you in the postage paid addressed envelope that you provide.  You will then need to contract with a Private Process Server (click here for a list of Pinellas County appointed process servers) to have the summons(es) served on the tenant(s).  Bring the following documents with you to file your case with the Clerk's Office:

    • Complaint for Eviction [Form #5 or 5a] with attached copy of the written lease agreement and/or Notice to Pay Rent [Form #1]
      Copies required – (1) Original filed with the Clerk and (1) copy for each Defendant to be served*
    • Civil Cover Sheet [Form #1.997]
    • Authorization of Property Manager [Form #COCIV 87]. Only provide if you are a property manager filing a complaint on behalf of a landlord
    • Summons on Claim for Possession of Residential Premises and/or Ancillary Relief [Form #7] – must provide separate summons for each tenant
      Must also include Spanish and French translations (pg. 2 of Form #7)
      Copies required – (1) Original and (1) copy for each Defendant to be served.*
    • $10.00 summons fee – payable to the Clerk of Circuit Court (fee required for each summons issued by the Clerk)
    • One self-addressed envelope with postage (stamped) for the Clerk to return the summonses to you

    * If you anticipate posting, per Florida Statute 48.183, the landlord must provide an additional copy of the complaint with attachments, summons, and a pre-addressed stamped envelope for mailing to each Defendant.
    In addition, filing fees will be owed and a process fee for service by a private process server or service by publication.
    There are different requirements for tenant actions. You may wish to consult an attorney or refer to the public library or law library for detailed information.

    The Clerk's Self Help Center for affordable legal services offers limited attorney consultations to pro se or self-represented litigants (i.e. those people who do not plan to have an attorney represent them in court) for $15 for 15 minutes. Form packets may also be purchased at the Clerk's Self Help Center.

     
    Q 3. DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?

    You may wish to consult with an attorney or familiarize yourself with the procedures for enforcing your rights under your lease. If you would like to consult with an attorney and have an attorney review your forms before filing them, you may visit the Clerk's Self Help Center for affordable legal services to schedule an appointment with an attorney for $15 for 15 minutes.

    The residential landlord/tenant relationship is controlled by the terms of your lease and by Part II of Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes. The procedures for enforcing your rights can be found in section 51.011 Florida Statutes. The public library or the law library located in the Old Clearwater Courthouse at 324 South Fort Harrison Ave., will have these reference materials. Forms approved for use in the Sixth Judicial Circuit are available in the Clerk's Office for individuals filing landlord/tenant actions on their own behalf (pro se).

    The Clerk's Office Civil Court Records departments and Self Help Centers have forms designed for use in the event of common residential/landlord disputes available for purchase. Additionally, a packet of forms can be obtained online, HERE. If you have difficulty filling out the forms, you may use the Clerk's online, automated form completion help for a fee by clicking here. OR if you would like to consult with an attorney and have an attorney review your forms before filing them, you may visit the Clerk's Self Help Center for affordable legal services to schedule an appointment with an attorney for $15 for 15 minutes.

    An additional resource is www.800helpfla.com.


     
    Q 4. WILL I NEED TO GO TO COURT?

    The party served the summons will have a specific time period in which to respond dependent upon the type of summons issued.

    If a response is filed or moneys are deposited into the court registry, you will need to contact the assigned judge's office to schedule a court date.

    If no response is received or no moneys are deposited into the court registry, you may file a Motion for Default with the Clerk's Office.

    If the Court enters a final judgment against a party in default and the final judgment is for eviction, you may ask the Clerk to execute a Writ of Possession if you anticipate having to forcibly remove the tenant or tenant's possessions.

    The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office currently charges a fee of $90.00 to serve the writ. The Sheriff accepts in-state checks, money orders or cashier checks. Please make payment payable to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and include with the Writ of Possession submitted to the Clerk's Office.


     
    Q 5. IS THERE OTHER INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON COLLECTING THE FINAL JUDGMENT?

    The Clerk has provided a page for collecting a judgment which gives information on possible ways to collect on a final judgment involving money.


     
    Q 6. What if I want someone who is living with me, such as a roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend or family member removed and there is no rental agreement?

    Ejectment (per Chapter 66, Florida Statutes) is used to remove a person or persons who occupy real property with you, but do not hold title to that property.

    • The property must be located within Pinellas County.
    • The individual(s) occupying the property are not tenants.

    Example - You have someone (roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, family member) living in your home with you. There is no rental agreement. You do not want that person in your home any longer.

    • Circuit Filing fee:      $400.00
    • Summons issuance fee:      $10.00 per summons

    Fees are payable by cash/personal check/cashiers check/certified check/money order/ traveler's check/credit card (MasterCard, or Visa) to the Clerk of Court.

    IN ADDITION to the above mentioned filing fee and summons issuance fee, you will be required to obtain your own private process server.

    The FORMS for use with "Ejectment," can be downloaded and printed by clicking, HERE .

     

  • Ken Burke, Clerk of the Circuit Court
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