Commercial Evictions in Florida – How to Evict a Business Tenant in Daytona
Owning commercial real estate in Florida can be a lucrative business. However, as a landlord, there are a variety of issues that you are forced to deal with regarding your tenants and your commercial property. One of the most frustrating issues a landlord faces is a tenant who refuses to pay its lease payments but refuses to vacate the premises. Landlords never want to evict a tenant because they would rather have the lease payments than empty space. However, there may be a time when you must evict your tenant for failing to pay lease payments or other breaches of contract.
Call (888) 316-2131 to speak with our Daytona commercial real estate property attorney to discuss your options for evicting a commercial tenant cost-effectively and quickly.
What Options Do I Have When a Tenant Defaults on Rent Payments?
If your commercial tenant leaves the property, you have three options that you can take regarding the property and unpaid rent:
• You may take possession of the property and use the property for your benefit;
• You may take possession of the property, contract with a new tenant, and pursue the old tenant for any loss resulting from the new lease; or,
• You can pursue an action against the tenant for rent and other damages.
In many cases, landlords do not want a commercial property empty because they are losing money each day they do not have a paying tenant. Therefore, replacing the tenant with a paying tenant may be the best option to mitigate damages. However, depending on the amount of money in question, it may be best to contact a Daytona commercial real estate attorney to file a lawsuit against the tenant for damages.
What if the Tenant Refuses to Leave?
If you have a commercial tenant who refuses to vacate the building for failure to pay lease payments, you can evict the tenant though a commercial eviction process. The commercial eviction process is defined clearly by Florida law,and commercial landlords must follow the steps precisely. Hiring a Daytona commercial real estate attorney can help ensure that costly and time-consuming mistakes are not made during the process.
The general steps in the commercial eviction process in Florida include:
• Official Warning — The notice you must give a commercial tenant before eviction depends on the violation. For non-payment of rent, you must give the tenant a minimum of three days before eviction. For other breaches of contract, the minimum notice period is 15 days for the warning.
• Filing an Eviction Proceeding — After the warning notice expires, if the tenant refuses to vacate the building, the owner can file an unlawful detainer complaint with the court requesting a court-ordered eviction. The complaint must be served on the tenant who has five days to respond to the complaint.
• Claims and Counterclaims — A tenant has the right to file an objection to the complaint. At that time, the landlord may also respond to the tenant's claims. In some cases, a tenant may choose to settle the matter before going to court, but if not, the case is set to be heard by a judge.
• Court Settlement — A judge, not a jury, hears most eviction cases. After the judge reviews the evidence and listens to both parties, the judge will enter a ruling. Unless the tenant has a valid legal reason for breaching the contract, eviction cases are typically ruled in favor of the landlord.
In a perfect world, the tenant vacates the property,and the landlord has a monetary judgment for damages against the tenant which the tenant pays. However, nothing is perfect. Even if the landlord receives a monetary judgment for damages, the tenant rarely pays this amount,and most landlords are just happy to get the tenant out of the building so that the commercial property can be leased to a new tenant. In a few cases, a tenant may refuse to vacate the premises,and further legal action may be necessary to forcefully remove the tenant.
Do I Need a Florida Commercial Real Estate Attorney?
In some cases, a landlord may be able to have a tenant evicted without the assistance of an attorney. However, matters related to commercial property are usually much more complex than matters related to residential property.
Therefore, most landlords with commercial property retain legal counsel to assist them in the commercial eviction process.
The commercial eviction process can be unpredictable and complex. Landlords without experience in handling these matters can benefit from the experience, knowledge, and guidance of a Daytona commercial real estate attorney.
If you have a commercial real estate question, please call (888) 316-2131 to consult with a Daytona real estate lawyer. We can help you save time and money by evicting a non-paying commercial tenant quickly and efficiently so that you can get back to the process of earning money from your commercial properties.