What to do after evicting a tenant?

by John Morey | Feb 04, 2017

Reimbursement for Attorney’s Fees after Eviction

If you used one of our Orlando eviction attorneys then you are already aware that the attorney has thirty (30) days from the date of the final judgment to file a motion for attorney’s fees. Failure to file the motion within thirty days may prevent you from recouping those fees in the future. However, there are always certain considerations that should be taken into account when deciding whether to go after attorney’s fees or not. Most importantly, you need to make the decision of whether you think your former tenant is even able to satisfy a judgment for attorney’s fees and/or past due rent.

Notice of Intent to Impose Claim on Deposit

 Florida law generally provides that if a tenant vacates or abandons the rental property prior to the expiration of the lease agreement, they are obligated to provide the landlord with at least 7 days’ written notice of an address where they can reached. A tenant’s failure to provide this information may relieve the landlord of having to provide the tenant with their notice of intent to impose a claim on the security deposit. Despite this provisions, our experience as eviction attorney’s has taught us that it is often better to err on the safe side and provide the tenant with notice regarding their security deposit anyways.

Beginning the date that the tenant vacates the property, a landlord has fifteen (15) days to return the tenant’s security deposit in full or thirty (30) days to provide the tenant with their notice of intent to impose a claim on the deposit. One of the calls we get most often from tenants involves landlords who may have attempted to provide a tenant with a security deposit notice, but failed to do it as required by Florida law. Unfortunately, this is one of the easiest ways a landlord can get themselves into legal trouble.

Pursuing a tenant for past due rent or damages

Most of the evictions that our attorneys file are for possession only. This means that the eviction lawsuit is only asking a court to award the landlord possession of the property; we are not suing the tenant for past due rent. This decision is often based upon the notion that if the tenant is not able to afford rent, they are also not likely to be able to satisfy a judgment against them. This situation often changes, however, when the landlord re-takes possession of the property and realizes the evicted tenant has caused extensive damage to the property.

Florida provides for a statute of limitations or timeframe within which the landlord must go after the tenant for past-due rent and/or damages before they waive their ability to do so. It is always best to speak with an experienced eviction attorney when you are making the decision of whether to pursue your former tenant for unpaid rent or damages. The deadline within which the lawsuit must be filed can depend on a number of different circumstances. It is also important to note that the original eviction complaint can often be amended to add on these additional claims. This option can help save the landlord the trouble and expense of having to file a whole new lawsuit.

Make necessary repairs before re-renting

Our Orlando eviction and landlord/tenant attorneys are fortunate to have experience representing both landlord and tenants throughout central Florida. It is all too often that we receive phone call from tenant who complaint about issues with a rental home that were in existence when they moved in. The easiest way to anger a new tenant is to move them into a rental property that is not in “move-in” condition. This exposes a landlord to the possibility of receiving a 7-day notice from their tenant and incurring additional expenses that could have easily been avoided prior to the new occupant having taken possession of the property. If you are a landlord, save yourself the headache now and make sure to make any necessary repairs prior to your new tenants taking possession.

Protect yourself against future bad tenants

As the old adage says, “hindsight is 20/20”. One of the most important lessons a landlord can learn after having to evict a tenant is how to avoid having to do it again. While many of our other blogs cover the topic in more detail, there are a few quick tips that can help landlords avoid problem tenants in the future. First and foremost, having a properly drafted lease cannot be stressed enough. The lease agreement is the manual of how the relationship between you and your tenant will function. It also helps to avoid many problems from the beginning. Secondly, run adequate background checks. Spending a few dollars upfront can provide you valuable information regarding your tenant’s likelihood to default in the future. Lastly, request adequate deposits and/or advanced rent.

If you have questions about how to file an eviction or what to do after you have already evicted your tenant, call our office today. The Orlando eviction attorneys at Morey Law Firm, P.A. are here to help. Our experience representing landlords and tenants throughout the state makes us one of the premier eviction law firms in Orlando. Speak with an eviction lawyer now by calling (407) 426-7222.