A Common Pitfall to Avoid When Trying to Evict a Tenant in Broward County
Any landlord who has had the misfortune of having their eviction suit dismissed will tell you that if you don’t get the 3-Day Notice right, you are running the risk of having to spend more money to re-file your suit, and paying the tenant’s attorney fees. There are many nuances to this filing that will lead to a dismissal of your suit, but for the purposes of this article we will be specifically addressing when the Broward County Court requires an 8-Day Notice rather than the standard 3-Day version.
Chapter 83, the Florida statute with which all landlords should be familiar, provides a statutory guideline for filing a 3-Day notice in Florida. Although the statute is designed to be simple, many jurisdictions have interpreted it in different ways, making it difficult for a non-lawyer to successfully evict a tenant. Broward County is one of those jurisdictions where there is a split among judges.
In Broward County, some judges will dismiss your case if you do not add 5 extra days to the 3-Day notice. Depending on the judge you get, this could end up costing you a lot of money. If your case gets dismissed, you might have to pay the Tenant’s attorney fees in addition to the cost of re-filing the suit. This is different than the prevailing case law in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and most other counties in Florida which follow the guidelines of Chapter 83 closely.
Although the statute clearly states that you need to give the tenant a 3-Day Notice, several judges in Broward County will require that the tenant be given 5 extra days for mailing if you and the tenant live in different cities such as West Palm Beach, different counties, or different states. In one case, the tenant and the landlord lived 2.3 miles apart. However, because they lived in different counties, the judge dismissed the case and ordered the landlord to pay attorney fees, even though the landlord complied with the statute. This might seem illogical or unfair to landlords, but it is the state of the law in Broward County.
The solution seems clear for landlords trying to do an eviction in Ft. Lauderdale, and Broward County in general. If you are unsure of whether you should post the 3-Day or the 8-Day Notice, consider whether you and the tenant live in different cities, counties, or states. It is best to deliver 8 days of notice and have a successful eviction, rather than risk your case being dismissed and paying attorney fees to the tenant.