Any time you, as a commercial landlord in Florida, lease a property, you hope for a successful business relationship. Regrettably, that doesn’t always happen. When it doesn’t, it may become necessary to protect your property and your overall business interests by evicting that tenant. The law goes to great lengths to protect residential tenants facing evictions, and it also imposes some fairly substantial procedural obligations on commercial landlords. Trying to evict a commercial tenant on your own can actually do serious harm to your position. Instead of making this commercial eviction an ill-fated “DIY” project, retain the legal representation you need from a skilled South Florida commercial leasing attorney.
When you’ve decided it’s time to evict your commercial tenant, there are several sets of hurdles you must clear. Before you file a court action to evict, you must first have complied with all the notice requirements of Part I of Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes, as well as all the notice obligations that were written into your lease agreement.
In a rent dispute, you must give your tenant a notice demanding that the tenant either pay the sum owed or vacate the property within three days of the date of that notice document. If the problem is something other than unpaid rent, the law says that you must give the tenant at least 15 days to fix the breach or else vacate.
If that fails, you will need to file a complaint for possession of the premises. That filing will be made in either the county court or the circuit court, depending on the amount of money you’re seeking from your tenant.
If your tenant chooses to fight the eviction in court, it must file something called a “motion to determine rent.” If the court grants that motion, the judge will issue specific instructions for payment of rent into the court registry until the case is resolved. The tenant must follow these instructions exactly, and it is well worth your while to monitor these actions closely because even a very slight misstep by the tenant may create a major opportunity for you.
A tenant’s lateness by one day = a huge win for the landlord
For example, a recent commercial eviction from Broward County included a court order for the tenant to pay rent into the court registry on the first day of every month. One month, the tenant mailed the rent payment to the court registry two days before the 1st, but the payment was not deposited into the court registry until the 2nd.
The landlord’s legal team recognized the opportunity this presented and made a motion for a default judgment based upon the tenant’s late payment. As the Court of Appeal noted, the tenant’s lateness – even though by a margin of just one day — automatically entitled the landlord to the judgment it sought.
Previous court cases have made it clear that when “the tenant has not paid the rent into the registry of the court in accordance with the court order and the statute, the landlord is entitled to a writ of possession without further hearing.” The law does not give the trial judge discretion not to issue the default if the tenant’s payment is late, even if payment was just one day late and the result is a harsh one for the tenant.
The right legal team can be invaluable to you in pursuing an eviction due to a landlord-tenant dispute, whether by protecting you from damaging missteps or by aggressively pursuing your interests. When it comes to getting that kind of legal representation, look to the knowledgeable commercial litigation attorneys at Stok Kon + Braverman and our many years of experience to give your business the powerful and effective advocate needed to get the job done right.
Contact us online or by calling (954) 237-1777 to schedule your consultation.