Three day notice to pay rent or vacate in Florida
If the Tenant fails to pay rent when due and the default continues for three (3) days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) after delivery of written demand by the Landlord for payment of the rent or possession of the premises, the Landlord may terminate the rental agreement. This written demand is a prerequisite to an action to evict the Tenant or recover past due rent. Your written rental agreement may have allowed for a longer period than three days and should be reviewed.
Attorney Rob Solomon: About three or four years ago, they changed the landlord tenant law. In this way, which was an ability for a person if there was a mistake in the filing of an eviction by a landlord, an obvious mistake that the case would be dismissed that the tenant would immediately be eligible to get their attorney fees sometimes multiplied out because it's hard to get an attorney when you're a tenant. Some of these fees were up in the five or $6,000 range.
Our legislature has met and tried to address that problem. We have a new statute. New in the last two or three years in which now if there's a mistake in some of the notices you have to file and you're the landlord, you get a chance to refile them without have your case dismissed. That's a big deal because it saves you losing the case and therefore paying attorney’s fees.
Attorney Tom Olsen: In the old days, if you made a small mistake within your three-day notice to pay rent or vacate, the judge would dismiss your case, throw you out of court and order that you pay your tenant's attorney’s fees. These days they give you an opportunity to fix that mistake.
Attorney Rob Solomon: You have said it exactly right. Yes.
Attorney Tom Olsen: We know that when a tenant does not pay rent, step number one always is a three-day notice to pay rent or vacate. That form is actually given to us by the Florida statutes and it looks relatively simple to fill out. But you and I know that there's all kind of mistakes that can be made in it.
Attorney Rob Solomon: Right. That’s interesting that you put it that way because I hear that a lot in my workshops which is, “How could this be hard to do?” The legislature wrote it for us. If you go down to the court they give you this form. It's simple. You just fill out a couple of blanks and you're set to jet. But everything about that form, every fill in that occurs has been litigated time and time again. We have lots of rules now that nobody would be able to find unless you're a lawyer reading legal cases.
If you don't read those cases, if you have something better to read than legal cases you're probably going to miss the fact that a three-day notice for instance turns into a 8-day notice if rent is due out of county. It wouldn't be in the statute, it wouldn't be on the form. You just wouldn't know that that's what you have to do.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Well, now you're telling me something that I did not know. But if you're telling me that if I had a rental property in Seminole County and yet I'm asking the tenant to bring me rent within three days to my home in Orange County, they have eight days to do it.
Attorney Rob Solomon: That's right. You have to add mailing. I know it sounds kind of ridiculous because you and I know that you could have one foot in Seminole County and walk 10 feet and be Orange County. The way this started is that there were landlords who were up in New York and Washington who were demanding rent. Over time the courts have slowly [laughs] moved that line. First, it was New York Washington, then it was South Carolina, then Georgia, then northern Florida. Finally they got to a point where they laid down the rule if it’s out of county you have to add mailing in terms of the timing.
Attorney Tom Olsen: But when you do as a landlord, you do this three-day notice to pay rent or vacate, and it is what it sounds like, isn't the expectation that the tenant is going to hand deliver that rent to you?
Attorney Rob Solomon: No, not necessarily. I mean, let's suppose the landlord is up in New York, which is pretty common here in Florida. There's no way that you would expect that that would be.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Well, let's say the landlord is in the same city as you are, but let's say on day number three rather than the tenant hand delivering the rent to the landlord, on day number three the tenant puts the rent in the mail to the landlord. In law, when it's in the mail it's considered to be delivered. Would that be true?
Attorney Rob Solomon: That would not be true. It is as if you walk that mail, that check over and so you literally have to a stated point in time that's put on the three-day notice. You don't just go three days or eight days, you literally list the last moment in time you can make that payment. However, it didn't matter that you put it in the mail. It needs to be in the landlord’s hands by that last moment in time that's in the three-day notice.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Okay, so in this situation then, in the mail is not necessarily delivered. If your landlord is in the same county as you, you must either deliver it by hand within three days or somehow get the mail delivered within three days that contains your rent.
Attorney Rob Solomon: That's right. Yes