If you rent property to a commercial tenant in Florida, you should prepare yourself for a variety of eventualities. If you ever face the necessity of considering eviction proceedings against a business, it can be helpful to know some basic concepts.
The circumstances surrounding any eviction case can affect the way the law may apply. An experienced attorney can assess the facts and advise you as to how you can best meet your objectives.
Check your lease
While commercial tenants do not enjoy the same extensive legal protections as residential tenants, it would be a mistake to think this necessarily means a simpler and easier eviction. Precisely because commercial leases do not labor under the same types of regulation as residential ones, they can be far less uniform and may include a greater variety of unique conditions and provisions. Thus, a landlord considering eviction should closely peruse the terms of the lease, preferably with his or her real estate attorney.
Two major reasons landlords choose to evict tenants are non-payment of rent and breaching a term of the lease (other than the one obligating the tenant to pay rent).
Eviction for failure to pay rent
When a landlord wants to evict for failure to pay rent, he or she must first send a written three-day notice demanding payment of rent or vacating the property. The lease may contain additional requirements for the notice, such as a longer notice period or specific requirements for service. If three days pass and the tenant still has not paid the rent or given up the property, the landlord may file a complaint in court to initiate the eviction process. The complaint may ask for eviction, payment of rent owed to date and sometimes for additional damages the landlord may sustain due to the tenant's occupation of the premises without payment.
Other types of lease breaches
If the landlord wants to evict due to a breach of the lease not related to rent payments, the law requires him or her to send written notice giving the tenant 15 days to vacate or to remedy the breach. However, the lease may contain provisions specifying other remedies for specific breaches.
Self-help likely to cause legal problems for landlords
In any case, landlords must take care to comply with legal requirements and lease terms. They may not take action on their own, such as locking the tenant out before eviction proceedings conclude.