Your guide for navigating an eviction for nonpayment of rent
STEP 1: 3-Day Notice
Your landlord MUST give you a 3 Day Notice for nonpayment. If you pay within three days of the notice (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and court holidays), they cannot evict you. If you haven’t already, call Gulfcoast Legal Services for assistance now.
STEP 2: Respond to the 3-day Notice
If you do not pay the full amount due or voluntarily vacate the premises, within the 3 day time period in the notice, the landlord can file an eviction action against you in county court. If you can’t pay the full amount, talk with your landlord to create a payment plan or see if the landlord will take partial rent.
STEP 3: Pay Partial Rent
If you pay partial rent due within the 3 day time period, your landlord may continue the eviction if they:
- Give you a receipt with the balance of the rent due BEFORE filing the eviction;
- Place the rent into the court registry when they file the eviction; or
- Post a new 3-Day Notice for nonpayment with the new amount due. You will then have three more days to pay (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and court holidays).
STEP 4: Summons & Complaint
After you are served with a summons and complaint, (which is done personally or by posting it on your door and mailing it to you), you must respond within five days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and court holidays). You must also pay the amount of rent the landlord says you owe into the court registry.
If you disagree with the amount, pay the amount you think is due and file a Motion to Determine Rent along with your Answer. Make sure to call and schedule a hearing by calling the judicial assistant. A GLS attorney may be able to help you with this.
Not responding will result in a default judgment. This means you will not get to see a judge, and you will be evicted.
STEP 5: Go to Your Court Date
Answering and paying rent into the court registry does not ensure a case win.
You must have a “legally sufficient” reason for nonpayment. (Not having the money is not legally sufficient.)