How To Kick Out Tenants Who Owe Rent

Introduction: How To Kick Out Tenants Who Owe Rent?

Being a landlord can be a rewarding experience, but it also comes with its share of challenges. One of the most distressing situations for a landlord is having a tenant who is consistently behind on rent payments. As a landlord, you might wonder, “How To Kick out tenants who owe rent. This article will explore the answer to this question in detail, providing valuable insights based on my first-hand experiences as a Florida Real Estate Broker.

How To Kick Out Tenants Who Owe Rent?

How To Kick Out Tenants Who Owe Rent
When you kick out tenants, you must follow the proper legal process

The short answer to this question is “Yes,” but it’s essential to understand that you must follow the legal eviction process to do so. Evicting a tenant requires adherence to specific rules and regulations, and it’s crucial to be well-informed about the eviction laws in your area.

Talk To The Tenants And Negotiate

No one wants an eviction on their credit as it will affect their ability to rent elsewhere without paying hefty deposits or living somewhere less desirable. Call them and ask them if there is something you should be aware of. Make them aware that the rent isn’t free money to you, and you need it to cover the expenses of the house, like mortgage payments, upkeep, taxes, and insurance. Find out of they’ve lost their job or had a split in the family. They may be willing to move out within weeks if you come to an official arrangement to break the lease which states you won’t pursue them providing they comply.

Loss of Rent Insurance

Do you have an insurance policy that covers you when the tenants don’t pay their rent? Our rental homeowners can obtain gap rental insurance via us, which covers up to two months’ rent when the tenants don’t pay or skip on the lease. You must still serve them with the legal notices and pursue an eviction as detailed below but agree to stop the process, providing you get the home back in good condition within a couple of weeks.

How Do Tenants Leave Quickly

How about suggesting they move in with family and store their stuff? They could move into a cheap hotel if that’s not an option. Remind them the goal is not to have an eviction on their credit. This is a win-win for both of you. As soon as they’ve surrendered the right of possession of the home to you, stop the eviction process. Make a claim on your gap insurance for up to two months of back rent.

Working With Delinquent Tenants

If they’ve rented from you for years and kept the home in good condition, you can consider working with them. Typical reasons for delinquency are family problems such as a split or divorce or they might have been unable to work due to illness or disasters. You won’t know until you talk to them. Some local county offices have rent assistance programs. The tenants may need to know how to get a helping hand to help them pay their rent on time. During COVID, county offices in Florida paid the tenant’s rent to us. Good property management companies will help the tenants find out who can help them avoid eviction.

Government Aid For Rent Assistance

Others who had developed long-term illnesses were eligible for welfare benefits and or help from charities. Tell them it’s no use burying their head in the sand and hoping it goes away. You will work with them as long as they show you proof of the applications and they qualify for Government help or charitable assistance. Getting paid might take six weeks, but starting the eviction process doesn’t make sense if you know the rent will be paid. Check with the government offices to see if they’ve made an application and they will want to see proof from you about the outstanding arrears.

Understanding the Eviction Process

Don’t let them pull on your heartstrings if they’re not paying; ask to see their documented application for rent assistance, and if they’re not forthcoming, it’s time to pursue a legal eviction. Evicting a tenant is a serious matter that involves legal proceedings. It’s not something you can do without cause, and there are specific steps you must follow. If your rental home is located in Davenport, Kissimmee, Orlando, or St Cloud, and you need to switch property management companies, we will help you.

The eviction process in all states typically includes the following stages:

  1. Issue a Notice to Pay Rent or Quit: In most jurisdictions, you must first serve the tenant with a written notice demanding payment of overdue rent within a specified period. This notice warns the tenant of potential eviction if they fail to pay or vacate the property.
  2. Wait for the Notice Period to Expire: After serving the notice, you must allow the tenant sufficient time to respond. The length of the notice period varies by location, but it’s usually around 3 to 8 days excluding bank holidays.
  3. File an Eviction Lawsuit: If the tenant fails to comply with the notice within the given time frame, you can proceed to file an eviction lawsuit in court. This legal action initiates the formal eviction process.
  4. Don’t Accept Further Rent payments If you accept partial arrears payments in most states. You’ll have to start the legal process all over again.
  5. Attend the Eviction Hearing: The court will schedule a hearing where both parties can present their case. If the court rules in your favor, you will be granted a judgment for possession of the property.
  6. Obtain a Writ of Possession: After obtaining a judgment, you must wait for the specified period, usually a few days, during which the tenant can still appeal the decision. If there is no appeal, you can obtain a writ of possession, allowing law enforcement to remove the tenant from the property.

Navigating Legal Complexities

Evicting a tenant who owes rent is not always straightforward. Legal complexities can arise, making the process more challenging. Here are some common situations that may require special attention:

  1. COVID-19 Related Moratoriums: During the pandemic, some areas implemented temporary eviction moratoriums to protect tenants facing financial difficulties. These moratoriums could affect your ability to evict tenants even for non-payment of rent.
  2. Retaliatory Eviction Laws: Some jurisdictions prohibit landlords from evicting tenants in retaliation for asserting their rights or reporting code violations. In some areas, they must lodge their rent payments on time with the courthouse.
  3. Tenant Bankruptcy: If a tenant files for bankruptcy, it may temporarily halt the eviction process while the court reviews the case.

To ensure you navigate these complexities effectively, consult a qualified attorney specializing in landlord-tenant law in your area. If you need a property management company to help you hire a specialized attorney who deals with these cases in Florida, call McCormack Realty & Renters at 407-933-2367 for advice, help, and more information.

Practical Steps for Handling Non-Payment of Rent

While eviction is a legal recourse for dealing with a tenant who owes rent, it’s essential to consider other practical steps before resorting to such a drastic measure. Here are some strategies to handle non-payment of rent:

  1. Open Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with your tenant. Sometimes, financial issues can be resolved through dialogue and understanding.
  2. Offer Flexible Payment Plans: If your tenant is experiencing temporary financial difficulties, consider offering a flexible payment plan to help them catch up on rent over time.
  3. Mediation: In some cases, involving a neutral mediator can help facilitate a resolution between you and your tenant.
  4. Hire An Attorney specializing in Landlord Tenant Law: I am not an attorney, and this article isn’t a substitute for legal advice. The advice contained within is what I’ve encountered as a Florida Licensed Real Estate Boker. Laws vary from state to state, and you need the correct legal advice for your area.
  5. Most states allow owner-landlords to represent themselves in evictions. Still, you don’t know the changing landlord and tenant laws as well as an attorney who specializes in landlord and tenant law.
  6. Know Your Rights and Responsibilities: Familiarize yourself with the local laws governing landlord-tenant relationships. Being well-informed will help you make better decisions and protect your rights.
  7. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of all communication, notices, and actions regarding rent payment issues. This documentation will be valuable if you need to proceed with eviction.
  8. Your Property Management Company Should be worth its weight in gold in these cases as they have much more experience dealing with evictions than you have. If they can’t help you, it’s time to switch.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I evict a tenant immediately after they miss a rent payment? A: You must follow the proper legal process and serve the tenant with a written notice before evicting.

Q: Is it legal to change the locks or shut off utilities to force a tenant to leave? A: No, self-help eviction is illegal in most jurisdictions and can lead to severe penalties for the landlord.

Q: Can I evict a tenant for non-payment of rent during the COVID-19 pandemic? A: The rules regarding evictions during the pandemic vary by location. Some areas may have implemented temporary moratoriums on evictions for non-payment of rent.

Q: How long does the eviction process usually take? A: The timeline for eviction varies depending on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

Q: Can I negotiate with the tenant to avoid eviction? A: Open communication and negotiation can sometimes lead to mutually beneficial solutions.

Q: Can I evict a tenant for reasons other than non-payment of rent? A: Yes, there are valid reasons for eviction, such as lease violations, property damage, or illegal activities.


Evicting a tenant who owes rent is a complex process that requires adherence to legal guidelines and compassion for individual circumstances. While it is possible to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent, exploring other options and maintaining open communication can often lead to better outcomes. Always be well-informed about local laws, seek legal advice, and document all interactions for your protection.

Remember, as a landlord, you have both rights and responsibilities. You can navigate eviction by approaching challenging situations with a fair and empathetic mindset while upholding ethical standards.

About the author, Anne-Marie McCormack

Anne-Marie McCormack has been a Florida licensed Real Estate Broker since 1996. She has worked as a realtor in property management, rentals and sales in Kissimmee, Davenport, and Orlando, Florida since 1991.

She heads the team at McCormack Realty & Renters Choice Homes and has lots of experience with long-term and short-term rentals and sales. . Anne-Marie owned and operated a short-term-rental, property management company from 1994-2004. Since then McCormack Realty & Renters Choice Homes has focused on long-term rentals and sales of residential, investment homes and vacation homes also known as holiday lets.

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