When should a Florida landlord use a 30-Day Notice?
In general, most landlords will give informal notice to a tenant by text message, email, or phone call. In the vast majority of lease agreements, this is sufficient for the tenant to want to move out without any disputes. Less frequently, a tenant will refuse to move out. It is in these situations that a formal notice becomes necessary.
The reason a formal eviction notice is used is to be able to prove to a court later on that the tenant was actually notified about their obligation to move out, well in advance, in a manner that the court agrees is clear and unambiguous. These kind of laws were put in place to reduce the amount of power a landlord had to make last minute decisions that would severely negatively impact an otherwise rule-following tenant.
How should the 30-Day Notice be delivered to a tenant?
It's important to realize that delivering a 30-Day Notice is not the same thing as sending any other type of information to a tenant. In particular, the notice must be "served" on the tenant.
Serving a 30-Day Notice to a tenant means that the notice must be delivered in a way that provides proof that the tenant received it. This is usually done by hand-delivering the notice to the tenant or by sending it via certified mail with a return receipt requested. The notice should also be posted in a conspicuous place, such as on the front door of the rental unit. For the notice, a landlord can serve it themselves (though this isn't always the wisest decision). For eviction court paperwork, they must get someone else to do the service.
The best way to ensure that a 30-Day Notice is properly served is to hire a professional process server. This individual will know the proper way to deliver the notice to the tenant, and can even provide documentation to prove that the notice was delivered. This is important, as the tenant may try to claim that they never received the notice.
Retaining proof of service for the notice
However you choose to serve the notice, be sure to obtain and keep a proof of service in your records. A proof of service is a sworn affidavit from the server stating what was served, and how and when. The proof of service is your only way to prove to the court that you gave the other person notice of the lawsuit as required by law.
You should fill out and sign the proof of service right after the document is served and keep it in your records for future reference.
You can also ask the person you served to sign a statement confirming that you served the notice and how you served it, though, most people will refuse to sign this statement. The eviction notice template above includes a second page with a proof of service on it.