The timeline and complexity of a residential eviction varies among rental situations and jurisdictions within the state. A number of factors can influence the time period of an eviction. That said, the process generally takes three to five weeks, and involves the following steps:

(1) Three-Day Notice: Deliver a proper three-day notice to pay rent or vacate the premises before filing the eviction case, as required by Section 83.56(3), Florida Statutes.

(2) File Eviction Paperwork: If the tenant does not comply with the three-day notice, commence the eviction case by filing a summons, complaint, and necessary attachments with the clerk of the court.

(3) Serve Eviction Paperwork: Serve the summons and complaint to the tenant through a process server or sheriff's deputy. The clerk of the court should also complete a certificate of mailing the eviction paperwork to the tenant.

(4) Five Days to Respond: Once served, the tenant has five business days (not including the day of service, weekends, or legal holidays) to respond to the complaint.

(5) Clerk's Default: If the tenant does not respond within the time permitted, file a motion for entry of a clerk's default against the tenant.

(6) Final Judgment: The court reviews the eviction case file, and grants a final judgment of possession if everything is in order.

(7) Writ of Possession: The clerk of the court issues a writ of possession, which a sheriff's deputy then serves to the tenant or posts at the premises.

(8) Recover Possession: After 24 hours from serving the writ of possession, a sheriff's deputy recovers possession of the premises and formally concludes the eviction process.

This timeline is a basic depiction of the eviction process for the non-payment of rent. Other types of lease violations have different eviction requirements. Additional steps and delays may also arise if the tenant contests the eviction.

Because each step of the process has specific procedural requirements, there are many opportunities for costly mistakes. Particularly, errors in steps (1) and (2) account for the majority of failed evictions. A simple mistake can easily transform a basic eviction into a complex, legal nightmare. Often the best way to avoid problems is to retain or hire an experienced attorney from the outset of the eviction.