County Civil / Small Claims
JSmall Claims handles cases with claims up to $5,000.00. County Civil handles cases with claims from $5,000 to $15,000; replevin cases; landlord tenant cases; and other non-monetary civil matters such as declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, non-monetary equity matters, control of animals.
Click Here To Jump To FAQ'S
Forms and Assistance
Civil Fact Information Sheet
Civil Indigence Application
Collecting a Judgment
County Civil Final Judgment
- 3 Day Notice to Tenant from Landlord
- 7 day notice to Landlord from Tenant to Terminate Lease
- 7 day notice to Landlord from Tenant to withhold rent
- 7 day notice to Tenant from Landlord to remedy noncompliance
- 7 day notice to Tenant from Landlord to terminate Lease
- Eviction 5 day Summons
- Eviction Process
- Eviction Process Flowchart
- Landlord-Tenant Assistance from the Florida Bar
- Landlord-Tenant Damages Order
- Notice of Intention to Impose Claim on Security Deposit
- Owners Authorization
- Tenant Assistance
Information on Parties in a Civil Case
Satisfaction of Judgment County Court
Landlord/Tenant And County Civil Cases FAQ'S (850) 606-4110
After providing written notice, what are the next steps?
The plaintiff must file a petition for eviction, submit a summons for each defendant to our office for issuance, and deliver the summons to the Sheriff or a private process server for service. The following documents should be filed with our office:
- Petition: Original and two copies (original goes in file, one copy for service, and one copy for mailing from the office; for each additional defendant, add two copies)
- Summons: Original and three for one defendant (same amount for each additional defendant)
- Lease Agreement: 3 copies (one for the file; one for service; and one for mailing; more copies for each additional defendant)
- Notice: 3 copies (one for the file, one for service; and one for mailing; more copies for each additional defendant)
- Stamped envelopes, addressed to the tenants.
Our office has most of these forms available online. Click Here To Jump To Forms
How is the defendant notified of the case?
- A defendant may be served by the Leon County Sheriff's Office or a private process server. Both charge a fee to serve each defendant.
- For each defendant listed in the complaint/petition, the plaintiff must provide an original and two copies of the summons. A copy of the complaint/petition and any other documents filed must be attached to the summons for service.
What happens after the lawsuit is served?
- The defendant has a specified time in which to respond to the complaint/petition.
- If no response is received in the time specified, the plaintiff may file a Motion for Default.
- Once the defendant files a response, or a Motion for Default is entered, the plaintiff must ask the court to hear the motion.
What happens when a final judgment is entered?
If the court enters a final judgment against the party in default and the judgment is for eviction, the plaintiff may ask our office to issue a Writ of Possession. This must be served by the Leon County Sheriffs Office.
What is a county civil case?
- A county civil case is a legal action filed in county court to settle minor legal disputes among parties where the dollar amount involved is more than $5,000 but does not exceed $15,000.
- Generally, these cases should be filed only in the county where the defendant resides, where the cause of action accrued, or where the property in litigation is located. See FS 47.011.
What is a residential landlord or tenant action and who can file?
- A residential landlord/tenant action applies to the rental of non-commercial dwelling units and is an action filed by a landlord against a tenant, or by a tenant against a landlord, concerning common disputes such as payment of rent, non-compliance, or breach of a lease or rental agreement.
- A landlord (the owner or lessor of a dwelling) or a tenant (a person entitled to occupy a dwelling unit under a rental agreement) may file a residential landlord/tenant action.
- If commercial, agricultural or personal property is at issue, the plaintiff should contact an attorney for the proper procedures to resolve those disputes.
What steps must be taken before an eviction can be filed?
- Before the plaintiff can file a residential landlord/tenant action, proper written notice must be given to the landlord or the tenant.
- The form of the notice will depend on the reason for terminating the lease (link to eviction forms on our website).
When will I go to court?
- The defendant will have a specific period of time in which to respond, depending on the type of summons issued.
- If a response is filed and/or money is deposited in the court registry, the file will be sent to the judge for further action.
- If no response is received or no money is deposited in the court registry, the plaintiff may file a Motion for Default.
Who may file a county civil case?
- Any person 18 years or older, and any individual doing business as a company, may file a county civil case.
- If you choose to represent yourself, you will need to prepare the complaint or petition, and should review the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure for information on filing a county civil case.
- If you do not feel comfortable representing yourself, you may wish to obtain the services of an attorney; the following links may help:
Small Claims Court FAQ'S(850) 606-4110
Are there other requirements?
If someone other than an individual is sued, additional information is needed to complete the required forms. Click Here To Jump To Forms for additional information.
How does a party collect on any judgment?
Is a jury trial possible in a small claims case?
- Yes, a trial by jury may be requested by the person filing the small claims case, upon written demand at the time the case is filed.
- The person being sued may request a jury trial within 5 days after service of Notice or at the pre-trial conference. See Rule 7.150, Florida Small Claims Rules.
Is an attorney necessary?
No. Small claims court is considered a "peoples court" and a lawyer is not required. Our office will provide you with assistance and the necessary forms for filing a small claims case.
May a lien be filed against the defendant's property?
What does it cost to file a small claims case?
Click here for a list of our fees.
What happens after the filing of a small claims case?
- After the filing of a small claims case, each person or business sued must be served with a summons or notice to appear in court on the date and time scheduled when the claim was filed. This court date will be a pre-trial conference and parties should be prepared to present their cases in court.
- At the pretrial conference, mediation will be ordered if both parties to the dispute are present and unable to settle their dispute. A mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. Mediation is an informal and non-adversarial process, the objective of which is to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. In mediation, decision-making authority rests with the parties.
- If the dispute cannot be settled at the pre-trial conference, a trial date will be scheduled by the court. The parties must appear at the trial with all witnesses and documentation.
- At the trial, both parties will have an opportunity to explain the case to the judge, ask the other party any questions concerning the claim, present documentation as discussed at the pre-trial conference, and call witnesses.
What happens to the case if a settlement is reached?
At any time in the proceedings, if a settlement is reached by the parties, the person who filed suit must notify our office in writing of the settlement.
What information is needed to file a small claims case?
- It is important that the claim is filed against the right party. The additional time spent researching the correct name could make a difference in the ability to collect on any judgment entered by the court.
- Copies of any contracts, notes, leases, receipts, or other evidence in support of the claim must be furnished for each person sued and the court. The originals must be brought to the first court appearance. A full explanation of the reason for the small claims action will be necessary.
- Click here for the Florida Small Claims Rules
What is a small claims case?
- A small claims case is a legal action filed in county court to settle minor legal disputes among parties where the dollar amount involved is $5,000.00 or less, excluding costs, interest, and attorney fees.
- Generally, Florida law gives the person suing the right to file suit in any one of several places as listed below. If the person being sued has been sued in any place other than one of these places, he/she has the right to request that the case be moved to a proper location or venue. A proper location or venue may be one of the following:
- Where the contract was entered into.
- If the suit is on an unsecured promissory note, where the note is signed or where the maker resides.
- If the suit is to recover property or to foreclose a lien, where the property is located.
- Where the event giving rise to the suit occurred.
- Where any one or more of the defendants sued reside.
- Any location agreed to in a contract.
- In an action for money due, if there is no agreement as to where suit may be filed, where payment is to be made.
Who can file a small claims case?
Any person(s) 18 years or older or any individual doing business as a company, may file a small claims case.
Why use mediation?
The Judge will require mediation because:
Mediation is economical. Settlement is viewed as fair by both parties. There is one court meeting. There is no need to subpoena evidence or witnesses and depend on their presence at trial. There is no extensive trial preparation. Mediation preserves personal and business relationships. It allows debtors to arrange repayment plans, avoid a judgment, and preserve credit reputation. Mediation protects privacy and avoids the publicity of trial. Both parties remain in control and participate in a "win-win" solution. The agreement is final and the dispute resolved.