Landlords should use the form from the Florida statutes or one drafted by their local lawyer. Florida Statute 83.56 subsection (3) states the form as: "You are hereby notified that you are indebted to me in the sum of ____ dollars for the rent and use of the premises (address of leased premises, including county) , Florida, now occupied by you and that I demand payment of the rent or possession of the premises within 3 days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and legal holidays) from the date of delivery of this notice, to wit: on or before the ____ day of ____, (year) .
(landlord's name, address and phone)" Remember that only the amount of rent may be placed on the Notice, not late fees, maintenance fees, NSF charges, etc.
Get the Dates Correct.
The Notice must be delivered to the Tenant and provide for at least three working days so that the Tenant has three opportunities to go to the Landlord/Agent or mail the payment to the Landlord/Agent. I recommend (1) trying to personally serve the named Tenant or (2) posting by taping the Notice on the door. The person attempting to serve should knock on the door and if the named Tenant answers, hand it to him. If the named Tenant does not answer the door, the person attempting to serve should tape it to the door. I recommend delivery be made in this way, never by mailing, as it is too complicated and can lead to a defective delivery. If the Landlord is out of town, he can fax the notice to a local process server or mobile Notary Public and pay that person to deliver the notice. The three days begin after delivery of the notice and the Tenant has until the end of the third working day to pay the Landlord. The Landlord may then file the eviction lawsuit on the fourth working day.
Address the Notice to all named Tenants.
If you have a written Lease Agreement, address the Notice to all named Tenants. Double-check the spelling of names and include the full name, if possible. You are more likely to succeed with a lawsuit against Mr. James Xavier James than with a lawsuit against Jim James, as there will definitely be more than a few Jim James, but not so many James Xavier Jameses. If you have been paid by check from another resident, ask an attorney if that resident is now to be considered a "Tenant" and--if so--include them as well. If you have an oral Lease Agreement, refer to your dealings with the Tenants, including any Rental Application, copies of I.D.s or other correspondence to find out their legal names.
Make certain the address of the premises is right.
The Landlord should insert into the Notice the correct address for the premises, including the county that the property is located in. You can name the neighborhood, but it is not necessary. The address should be inserted in the "TO" section as well as the body of the letter. Double-check the street address, the unit number, the city name and the ZIP code. If you are unsure as to the county, look it up on the county property appraiser's website.
Landlord Signature, Address and Phone Number.
Landlords should print their name underneath the body of the notice and sign their name. This is not to be confused with the "proof of delivery" section at the bottom of the notice. Landlords frequently sign their name as the deliverer of the notice, but do not sign the main portion of the letter. Leave the bottom portion for the process server / mobile Notary Public to fill out. Write in your local address so that the Tenant may bring the rent to you or indicate that the Tenant may call you to arrange for a local person to pick up the rent. Do not skip this step: you can avoid a claim later that you should have added five extra working days to the notice and that the notice was therefore defective. Make sure to include your telephone number. You can find a mobile Notary Public on NotaryRotary.com or a process server by doing a search online for the county the property is in.
Proof of Delivery Section.
At the bottom of the notice--BELOW the main body of the letter--is the proof of delivery section. This section is filled out by the person who delivers the notice. The notice is sometimes delivered by the Landlord and sometimes by a property management agent, process server or mobile Notary Public. IT DOES NOT NEED TO BE NOTARIZED, EVEN IF YOU ARE USING A MOBILE NOTARY PUBLIC. In fact, I recommend that it not be notarized, as this leads to too many errors. The delivery person will (1) fill in the date, (2) write whether they served (handed personally to the named Tenant or one of the named Tenants) or posted (taped to the door) the Notice, (3) sign their name above the line and (4) print their name below the line. I also recommend that the delivery person write in their telephone number, but this is not strictly necessary. The delivery person will then fax or scan and email the Landlord a copy of the completely executed Notice. The Landlord will then keep the copy for the file.
A great majority of Pay or Quit Notices that cross my desk from Landlords are defective in one way or another. It pays to go over the Notice carefully, as it can delay the start of your eviction lawsuit or result in the case being dismissed. If your case is dismissed, you may in some cases be responsible for the Defendant's Attorney Fees. If you are not sure, please seek legal counsel to make sure the Notice is correctly filled out and delivered.
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