Meet Evictions Lawyer Steve Taylor serving Miami Beach and surrounding Miami-Dade County
Are you a landlord, tenant, buyer or seller seeking legal representation in Miami-Dade County? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
The Law Offices of Steve Taylor provides comprehensive solutions for a wide variety of real estate matters including property disputes and real estate transactions. We assist landlords and tenants with breach of contract issues, including eviction proceedings. For our buyer and seller clients, we offer experienced counsel during all stages of the purchase and sale process from negotiation to clearing the title to closing.
Our in-depth knowledge and familiarity with Florida’s property and real estate laws enables us to pursue the best possible outcome for you. We read the fine print with a meticulous eye in an effort to protect your interests.
Landlord Representation and Eviction
As a landlord, you are obligated to maintain your property and to ensure the premises remains safe for your tenants. In return, you expect your tenants to pay the rent on time and in full, refrain from damaging the property or creating a disturbance for other residents. When a tenant does not adhere to these contractual obligations, you have the right to protect your investment and take legal action to evict them.
Grounds for Eviction
Before filing an eviction lawsuit in court, you must establish a valid reason for why you are taking this action. Common grounds for eviction in Florida include:
- Non-payment of rent
- Habitual late payment of rent
- Lease or conduct violations
- Unauthorized tenants living in unit
- Unauthorized pets
- Egregious damage
- Excessive noise
- Using property for illegal purposes (selling narcotics)
- Health violation
- Refusal to pay legal rent increase
Process to Evict Tenants in Florida
The procedure for evicting tenants in Florida is carefully outlined in Chapter 83 of the Florida Landlord-Tenant Act. As a landlord, it is of the utmost importance that you strictly adhere to the procedures contained within this statute. If you fail to comply, you can be held liable for any financial harm suffered by your tenant, including their attorney’s fees and court costs.
Landlord-Tenant lawyer, Steve Taylor has a firm grasp of the Florida-Landlord Tenant Act and can effectively apply the law to protect your rights.
Step One: Prepare and Serve Eviction Notice
The first step in the Florida eviction process is to provide the tenant with the appropriate written termination notice. Attorney Taylor will draft the notice on your behalf to ensure that the document is prepared using proper legal language, guidelines, and best-practices.
The notice can be delivered in person, via mail, or posted to the door of the unit.
3-Day Notice for Non-Payment of Rent
If the reason for eviction is for non-payment of rent, you would provide the tenant with a 3-day notice demanding that they either pay the rent within 3 days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) or they have to leave the property.
7-Day Notice for Noncompliance with Lease (With or Without Cure)
If the tenant violated the terms of the lease, you would serve a 7-day notice. If the violation was minor and did not endanger others, you can serve a 7-day notice with possibility to cure, which means if the tenant can become compliant or rectify the issue within 7 days, they can remain on the property. However, if the violation did endanger others, you would serve a 7-day notice without possibility to cure.
15-Day Notice for Termination of Tenancy
If you have a month to month lease and have decided you want to terminate tenancy at the end of the lease term, you are required to give notice 15 days before the date rent is due.
Step Two: The Complaint and Summons
If the tenant fails to comply, pay, or vacate within the specified timeframe given in the notice, you can proceed with actions for an eviction.
Prepare and File Complaint
A summons and complaint must be prepared and then filed with the county clerk in the county where the property is located. The complaint is a legal document that states your intention to recover possession of the property, and if applicable, recover actual money damages for unpaid rent. A copy of the notice and lease agreement will be attached to the complaint.
Step 3: Provide a Service of Summons to Tenant
After filing your eviction complaint, you must serve the tenant with the summons and complaint packet by using a private process server or a sheriff. The tenant will have 5 days to file an answer with the court and post money in the Court Registry.
Step 4: Tenant Responds to Summons
If the tenant responds within 5 days, a hearing will be set before a judge. To prepare for the hearing, you’ll need to gather evidence to prove your case. This might include
- lease agreement
- bounced checks
- photographs of damage
- records of payment of any kind
- phone and email records of the communication between you and your tenant
- a copy of the written notice that you provided your tenant
- dated proof that the tenant received the notice (a signature from the tenant, or receipt from the Post Office).
Step 5: File Motion for Default Judgment (if tenant fails to respond)
If the tenant fails to answer, we can ask the court to enter a default judgment on your behalf.
Step 6: Writ of Possession/Eviction
If a judgment is obtained and they still do not vacate the property, you must obtain a Writ of Possession to be given to the sheriff for service. Once the writ is served or conspicuously posted on the property, the tenant has 24-hours to vacate. If tenant does not, then tenant will be forcibly removed.
Prohibited Actions: What Not to Do as a Landlord During Eviction
As frustrating as it can be dealing with a non-compliant tenant, it’s important to refrain from doing anything irrational. The following actions are considered illegal and can seriously jeopardize your ability to evict: shutting off utilities, changing the locks, removing a tenant’s personal property, or removing the roof, doors, walls, or windows.
A tenant can pursue legal action against you for a wrongful eviction, trespassing or civil theft and sue you for actual and consequential damages. In the end, you could be held liable for 3 months rent or court costs and attorneys fees, whichever is greater.
Tenant Eviction Defense
Did you receive a Notice of Eviction from your landlord? Don’t panic. Instead, take immediate action by contacting the Law Offices of Steve Taylor 1-305-433-0497 to find out if you have any legal grounds to fight your eviction and remain in your home. As a tenant, you have rights that we will protect and enforce. If you have been threatened with eviction, we will make sure your landlord is complying with the law.
Common Eviction Defenses
Your Landlord Did Not Terminate Your Tenancy Properly/Improper Eviction Procedures
- You were not sent a written notice of eviction
- You were sent the wrong eviction notice
- The complaint does not state the reasons for eviction
- Your landlord did not properly serve you a summons and complaint
- Your landlord began the court case before the time period on your notice to quit expired
No Legal Justification to Evict
- You do not owe the amount of money your landlord claims you owe
- You paid all the rent money within the required time
- You did not violate the terms of your lease
Poor Living Conditions
If your landlord didn’t maintain your property or make repairs promised in your lease or failed to keep your home in good repair, you may have legal grounds for withholding a portion or all of your rent, even cancelling your lease agreement. Examples of conditions that are not tenable may include: no hot water, operational plumbing, heating, pest infestations, and other building, health, and safety code violations.
Your landlord cannot file an eviction out of retaliation for you reporting a housing, building, or safety code violation to a government agency; for being involved in a tenant organization; or for complaining to the landlord about repairs that needed to be made to the unit.
It is also illegal for your landlord to…
- interrupt utility services,
- change the locks,
- remove doors, locks, windows, etc., or
- remove your personal property
A landlord cannot evict you on the basis of your race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status, handicap, or status as a veteran.
Representation of Buyers and Sellers in Closing a Real Estate Transaction
The purchase or sale of a home, condo, townhouse or vacation property in South Florida is an exciting event, but the actual process can be arduous and overwhelming. Regardless of whether you are the buyer or seller, it’s crucial to have an experienced real estate attorney to guide you at every turn.
At the Law Office of Steve Taylor, we represent buyers and sellers in real estate transactions from Contract to Closing. Our goal is to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible without delays or costly surprises. Real estate closings are complex and involve a ton of paperwork. We will make sure all the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted.
Steps in a Real Estate Closing
Before “sealing the deal” on a real estate property, there are a series of pre-closing actions that must be taken…
Deposit Earnest Money to Escrow Account
When a buyer makes an offer on the property and the seller accepts, escrow is opened and an initial deposit is made to an escrow company (when representing a buyer, we can act as the escrow agent). Escrow is a neutral third party that collects and holds documents and funds in trust for all parties until transaction is complete.
Apply for Home Loan
The buyer finds a lender who will loan money for the purchase of the property.
Get Property Appraised
The buyer’s lender chooses a licensed Florida real estate appraiser to visit the property and prepare an appraisal of value.
Order Title Search
The Law Office of Steve Taylor will perform an exhaustive title search to check the current status of the title and to determine whether or not it’s marketable and insurable. We will search Florida’s public records for any documents relevant to the property including deeds, mortgages, liens, judgments, easements, divorce settlements, or debts owed against the property. If any “clouds” or defects are found, we will pursue the necessary legal remedies to obtain a clean and transferable title.
Order Home Inspections
The seller must disclose everything that they know about the home’s condition. A buyer can order a series of independent home inspections to identify potential issues with…
- termites or other pests
- interior plumbing faucets, drains, and fixtures
- conditions that could lead to mold
- heating and cooling systems
- insulation and ventilation
- electrical panels, breakers, and wiring
- basement, foundation and crawlspace
Order Property Survey
Details all of the exact boundaries of the property, including the placement of fences, driveways, buildings, and all significant landmarks located near the property.
Final Walk-Through of Property
A walk-through is performed the day of or before closing to verify the property is in the same condition it was when the process began.
Two Kinds of Closings in Florida: Face to Face and Mail Away
Residential real estate closings in Miami can be done face to face at an agreed upon location. There, the documents are signed and exchanged between the buyer and seller. The seller receives the sale proceeds and the buyer is given the keys to the property.
Mail Away is used for an out of state buyer in which documents are sent to the buyer and seller, signed and mailed back to agent. The agent then disburses the seller’s proceeds, records the Deed (and mortgage, if any) and then issues a title insurance policy to the buyer (and/or mortgage company).
Preparation of Closing Documents
The Law Office of Steve Taylor prepares all documents needed to close transaction including but not limited to:
- Promissory Note: lists terms and conditions of mortgage loan including the amount, monthly payments, interest rate, late fees, where payments are to be sent, and date of the last payment
- Warranty Deed: transfers title ownership from seller to buyer to legally show title has been transferred. After the deed is signed, it is recorded in public records of the county where property is located.
- Bill of Sale: transfers personal property included in sale such as appliances, drapes, storm panels, garage door opener, etc.
- Property taxes Agreement: prorate taxes
- Title Insurance Policy
- Affidavits: sworn statement that there are no judgments, claims, disputes, liens, encumbrances, demands or other matters pending against that could attach to the Property and there are no violations of governmental laws, regulations or ordinances, no repairs outstanding and unpaid bills for labor, materials or supplies
- Closing Statement or HUD-1: lists the various costs involved in your real estate transaction and tells you who is responsible for paying each.
Closing Costs for Buyers and Sellers in Miami
Closing costs total 2-7% of the home’s purchase price. Buyers incur 3-4% whereas sellers incur 1-3.%
- home inspections
- title policy and endorsement from lender
- property survey
- appraisal fees
- taxes and recording fees for deeds and mortgages
- taxes/stamp taxes on loan
- title search charges
- recording fees, as well as any other fees necessary to cure title
- documentary stamp taxes on warranty deed
- estoppel fees associated with HOA/Condominium association
- attorney’s fees
- realtor’s commission
In addition to our real estate practice, we provide exceptional criminal defense for individuals facing criminal charges in South Florida.
If you’ve been charged with a crime, your future is in jeopardy. To ensure that your rights are protected, you need a seasoned criminal defense attorney with experience and knowledge on your side. I can help you minimize the penalties you are facing, or help eliminate the charges against you altogether. I will thoroughly investigate all evidence in your case, question witnesses, review the circumstances under which the act was allegedly committed, and secure expert testimony on your behalf.