Do you need help with a Florida commercial eviction or business eviction in Florida? Has a commercial tenant or business tenant failed to pay rent? Only a small percentage of Florida real estate attorneys are Board Certified in Real Estate Law. Diana Davis Basta is one of them. Let a Florida Board Certified Real Estate Attorney assist you with your Florida commercial eviction or business eviction.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS



The commercial tenant, or business tenant, has failed to pay the rent due. What happens in a Florida commercial eviction, or business eviction?

When a commercial tenant, or business tenant, fails to pay rent, this can quickly lead to an eviction. Florida Chapter 83 provides a remedy to the landlord when a commercial tenant or business tenant fails to pay rent. Florida law requires that the landlord, in a commercial eviction, or business eviction, for nonpayment of rent, provide a written three day notice requiring the payment of rent, or for the tenant to hand over possession of the commercial property or business property to the landlord. Florida Statute § 83.20(2).

Florida Statute § 83.20(2) provides that the notice be served on the commercial tenant, or business tenant, by actual delivery, or if the commercial tenant, or business tenant, is absent from the premises, by leaving a copy at the premises. However, a careful review of the commercial lease, or business lease, is necessary to determine if there are any additional notice requirements provided within the commercial lease, or business lease. The three day notice should name each and every tenant on the commercial lease, or business lease. If the notice for the commercial eviction, or business eviction, is hand delivered, the person making delivery should be available to testify should the eviction go to trial. These steps are all important in order to ensure that the Florida Statutes are followed for the commercial eviction, or business eviction.

Failure to pay the unpaid rent due or return possession to the landlord by the commercial tenant, or business tenant, provides a basis to file a Complaint for the commercial tenant’s, or business tenant’s, eviction, and seek summary procedures as provided in Florida Statute § 83.21.



What must be in the Complaint for a Florida commercial eviction, or business eviction?

A typical Florida commercial eviction, or business eviction, Complaint, should be filed in the county where the property is located. A Florida Real Estate Attorney should be consulted prior to filing a Complaint for a commercial eviction, or business eviction.

Depending on the circumstances, and any personal guarantees obtained from the commercial tenant, or business tenant, by the landlord in the lease, we may decide to file an additional count to seek the landlord’s damages caused by the tenant’s failure to pay the rent. We evaluate our commercial evictions, or business evictions, on a case by case basis keeping in mind the costs to the landlord and likelihood of success of collection following a commercial eviction, or business eviction.

Because Florida Statute § 83.21 provides that landlords may use the summary procedures in Florida Statute § 51.011, a commercial eviction, or business eviction, process should move quickly through the court. Once the tenant receives the Complaint, the tenant is required to respond with any defenses within five (5) days. The law limits discovery, too, when utilizing the summary procedures outlined by statute which also causes the commercial eviction, or business eviction, to move quickly through the courts.



The tenant breached the commercial lease, or business lease, but did not fail to pay the rent. How can I commence a Florida commercial eviction, or business eviction, to evict this tenant?

There are some circumstances when a landlord needs to file a commercial eviction, or business eviction, against the tenant for a breach, but not one for failing to pay the rent. The tenant has typically breached the terms of the commercial lease, or business lease, by failing to comply with a provision of the lease.

Typically, the commercial lease, or business lease, will provide for notice to be given to the tenant, and an opportunity to cure, if a material breach occurs. Depending on the notice requirement of the lease, the landlord is required to give fifteen (15) days written notice, with an opportunity to cure the breach as a condition precedent to filing a commercial eviction, or business eviction. Florida Statute § 83.20(3). This notice is served in the same fashion as that of a three day notice for failure to pay rent.

Each Florida commercial eviction, and business eviction, is unique. We are here to assist you with any commercial eviction or business eviction. Please contact us at 727-938-2255 for assistance. Remember, we do offer free consultations.



If the commercial lease, or business lease, allows the landlord to retake possession, can the landlord change the locks if the commercial tenant, or business tenant, refuses to pay the rent?

NO. It is quite common for our new clients to inquire about changing the locks or removing the air conditioning unit, thereby forcing the non-paying tenant out of the commercial property, or business property. DO NOT DO THIS. This is called “self help” and this type of self help could subject you to a claim by the tenant for unlawful or wrongful eviction. If the landlord is found liable for wrongful eviction, the tenant may be able to recover damages that may also include lost profits. Florida law requires commercial landlords, or business landlords, to follow the procedures outlined in the Florida statutes for commercial evictions and business evictions.



How can a tenant defend a Florida commercial eviction, or a business eviction?

If past due rent is alleged in an eviction Complaint against a tenant, the tenant must follow the instructions on the summons exactly. The commercial tenant, or business tenant, is required to deposit the past due rent in the court’s registry or tell the court that the rent was paid and seek a hearing on that issue. If the court believes there is potential rent that is owed, the court will require the tenant to deposit the sum into the court’s registry before they may be heard further. If the tenant fails to deposit the past due rent into the court’s registry, all of the tenant’s defenses will be deemed waived. Florida Statute § 83.232(5). The tenant’s failure to pay the past due rent into the court’s registry entitles the landlord to a default for possession.

Tenants may raise other defenses including that of constructive eviction, which occurs when the landlord’s (or their agent’s) actions interfere with the tenant’s beneficial use of the commercial premises. However, for this defense to be viable, the tenant is required to give the landlord notice and an opportunity to cure the violation. If the landlord fails to cure within a reasonable time of the notice, the tenant may then abandon the premises. A key element to a claim for wrongful eviction is that the tenant vacates within a reasonable time of its notice to the landlord.



What types of damages are available in a Florida commercial eviction, or business eviction?

The commercial lease, or business lease, will determine, to some extent, the damages recoverable by the landlord. The landlord would typically be entitled to past due rent (with interest), court costs, and attorney’s fees. Depending on the terms of the commercial lease, or business lease, the landlord may be entitled to the full amount due on the entire term of the commercial lease, or business lease. However, to be entitled to money damages, the landlord must follow certain procedures, and the proper allegations must be made in the Complaint. Florida Statute § 83.231.



What happens if the Florida commercial tenant, or business tenant, stays on the property after the lease ends?

A commercial tenant, or business tenant, that remains on the property after the lease has expired or ended, without the consent of the landlord, is called a holdover tenant. The commercial lease, or business lease, may have a provision to specifically deal with this issue, but otherwise, Florida Statute § 83.06 provides that the landlord is entitled to double the rent for a holdover tenant. However, the Complaint must be drafted properly to entitle the landlord to this remedy.



Is a trial necessary to evict a commercial tenant, or a business tenant?

Florida commercial evictions, or business evictions, are typically tried on an expedited basis in front of a judge without a jury due to the summary procedure available to landlords. Once the tenant receives the Complaint for commercial eviction, or business eviction, it will provide all of its defenses in an Answer, which must be filed within five (5) days after service of the Complaint. If a counterclaim is asserted in response to the commercial eviction, or business eviction, Complaint, the landlord then has five (5) days from the service of the counterclaim in which to serve its defenses. Thereafter, no other pleadings are permitted. Florida Statute § 51.011(1).

At the trial, both sides will present their cases to establish their claims, and at the conclusion of the trial, if the Court finds on behalf of the landlord, the landlord will then be entitled to possession of the commercial property, or business property. Actual possession is usually obtained by issuance of a Writ of Possession which is executed by the local Sheriff.



Should a landlord handle a Florida commercial eviction, or business eviction, without a real estate attorney?

A Florida commercial eviction, or business eviction, can be troublesome without a real estate attorney assisting you. In some instances, you are not permitted to represent yourself and must have counsel represent you. Even the Pinellas County Clerk’s Office indicates that “If you have a commercial, agricultural or personal property lease, you should consult an attorney for the proper procedures to resolve disputes.” See the Pinellas County Clerk’s Office.