All Beach Apartment Management

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What happens if my tenant doesn't pay the rent?

This is really a two part question: "What happens to the tenant and what happens to me?" First off, here's what happens to the tenant:

bulletOn the second day after the rent is due and unpaid, we prepare and deliver the state-required "3-Day Notice" (this must be posted or delivered to tenant before any legal action for collection or eviction can be initiated). This grants the tenant 3 business days to pay the rent or get out.
bulletIf the rent remains unpaid at the expiration of the "3-Day Notice" we turn the file over to our attorney. The attorney prepares a complaint and files suit in County Court for eviction. A summons is issued and delivered to tenant or posted at the property by a licensed process server.
bulletThe summons gives the tenant 5 business days to answer the complaint or face removal. If the tenant wishes to contest the eviction, State Law requires that he/she pay the rent due to the court at that time.
bulletIf the tenant fails to answer the summons and complaint within 5 business days, the court will issue a Writ of Possession ordering the Sheriff to remove the tenant and deliver possession to the Owner (or his/her agent...namely us).
bulletIf the tenant answers the complaint and summons, a date is set for hearing and mediation. If the tenant can pay the rent, the matter can usually be disposed of in mediation in the form of a stipulated settlement to the case, obligating the tenant to keep the rent current or face immediate removal. If the tenant cannot pay or is being removed for some other cause, the judge will try the case and, assuming the case is valid, will order the tenant removed and the Clerk will issue a Writ of Possession.
bulletAfter the Writ of Possession issues, it is forwarded to the Sheriff. The Sheriff's staff takes about a week to get around to posting it on the property. The Writ, when posted, notifies the tenant that he/she will be removed without further warning after 24 hours
bulletTypically the sheriff will schedule the actual eviction within a week or so of posting the Writ of Possession.

Total time, therefore, depends on whether the tenant answers the eviction summons. Of course, if the tenant does not have the rent money and or does not intend to pay you, it is not likely he/she will defend the case since to do so he/she is required to pay the money owed to the court.

The next question is: What does this all cost?

bulletAttorney's fees to prepare complaint and process uncontested eviction $300.00 (average).
bulletFiling fee to Clerk of Court $195.00
bulletProcess Server (average) $35.00
bulletSheriff fee to serve Writ of Possession $95.00
bulletLabor to remove personal property if tenant is physically evicted (most move out).
bulletAttorney's fees to appear in court if required $200/hour (average)

Last question: Who pays for this?

bulletAssuming you move quickly and are reasonably lucky on timing, the tenant does since you will usually have a month's security deposit and a month's advance rent collected when the lease is formed. These monies will obviously be due to you if and when the tenant is removed by court process.
bulletIf the tenant settles the case by means of a stipulation, they do either by negotiated payment arrangement or by deduction from their security at departure.

Does this happen frequently: no, but it does become necessary with some tenants. The choices are simple, you sell a "wasting asset", time. If they are taking up the property and not paying rent, then that time can never be recovered and re-sold. Most owners, unfortunately, fall victim to various stalls, dodges and promises from tenants unable to make the payments or are scared of the costs involved. But the longer you delay, the worse off you are since the tenant then has no inducement to either pay or leave. At some point he/she will owe you more than he/she would have to pay to obtain a new place. At that point, you are doomed. Our program is designed to see that this situation does not take place. We act while the tenant still has prepaid rent and security at stake.

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Last modified: September 08, 2009
All Beach Apartment Management, Inc.
PO Box 398034
Miami Beach, FL 33239-0034
786-350-7218  (tel)
305-531-6742 (fax)