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Court Complaint for Eviction and Damages (Unpaid Rent)

Updated on Sat Aug 13 2022 |
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When to use the Eviction and Damages Due to Rent Form

There are 2 factors to consider when decided which court form to use in Florida eviction cases:

  1. Is the landlord trying to only evict the tenant, or evict and also claim damages?
  2. Is this dispute due to unpaid rent, or some other lease violation?

It's important to answer these questions to pick the right eviction form because there are slightly different forms for each type of scenario.

The form on this page is used when the landlord is attempting to both evict the tenant AND collect damages, due to unpaid rent.

Is it easier to only evict a tenant and drop the damages claim?

In general, the Florida courts assess the eviction claim and the damages claim as two related, but separate issues. It is possible for a landlord to be successful in their eviction of a tenant, while being unsuccessful in collecting damages from the tenant.

As a result, it can be easier for landlords to pursue a claim only for eviction. This saves the landlord needing to file two complaint forms (prepare both eviction complaint forms in a combined packet online).

Dropping one of the claims will also save the landlord money in serving the defendant later on, as each of the claims has its own summons that needs to be personally served on the defendant. This is similar to serving an eviction notice in Florida, but typically cannot just be posted to the door.

How do I file the combined form?

The packet for an eviction and damages complaint in Florida requires:

  1. Florida Civil Case Coversheet
  2. Form 5A - Complaint for Eviction for failure to pay rent and recover past due rent
  3. Form 7 - Summons for the Eviction Claim
  4. Form 8 - Summons for the Damages Claim

Some of the information on these forms is shared, so preparing a combined eviction packet online will save significant time and reduce the likelihood of typos and errors which could result in the court rejecting the filing.

Filing the Eviction Forms Online

If a landlord is preparing and filing the documents themselves, the complete packet can be filed online on https://www.myflcourtaccess.com. Alternatively, the landlord can use a more convenient online filing service, or hire an attorney to get assistance. After filing, the landlord will need to retrieve the stamped summons from the court clerk and hire a process server to serve the papers (or find someone not a party to the case to serve the papers).

Serving the Approved Court Paperwork

After this paperwork is filed in court, the court will issue an approved summons. This summons must be served on the defendant formally. The requirements here are higher than they were for serving the initial eviction notice on the tenant. For court summons, the service must be made directly to the tenant, and usually cannot be posted on the door. If the tenant is avoiding service, the landlord (plaintiff) may need to ask the judge for permission to try an alternative method of service (such as posting on the door) based on what they have already done to try to serve it personally to the tenant.

Additionally, for service of process of court summons, the plaintiff (landlord) must get someone else to do the service. This must be a person who is not party to the case, but it can be a friend or family member of the landlord. Whoever it is must serve the case, and then fill out and file a proof of service with the court indicated the method and time by which service was performed. It is typically recommended for the plaintiff to use the county sheriff or hire a professional process server to serve a defendant. The sheriff is usually a cheaper option with fees ranging from $50 to $80. A private process server is a licensed individual who will cost more ($75 to $150) but will also typically be much faster and more accurate with service.

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