4 Mistakes to Avoid in a Commercial Eviction

When you’ve rented out your retail space, office building, or other commercial location and the tenant breaches the terms of the lease, in most cases you have the right to evict them. However, if you’ve never done a commercial eviction before or you’re extremely frustrated by how the tenant’s actions have affected your cash flow, your attempts to remove them from the property can potentially make matters worse.

In this blog, we’ll list 4 mistakes you want to avoid when removing a problem tenant and explain how a Florida commercial eviction attorney can help you reclaim your property sooner.

Mistake #1: DIY Evictions

When a tenant’s behavior has cost you money, caused the property to lose value, or inspired complaints from the public, you may be tempted to resort to DIY eviction measures like turning off utilities and changing the locks, so that the tenant finds it impossible to conduct business and leaves. 

Under Florida law, a commercial landlord can take possession of a leased premises only under one of the following conditions:

  • A successful eviction lawsuit
  • The tenant abandons the property
  • The tenant voluntarily surrenders possession

Constructive evictions are illegal and can potentially expose you to liability. Don’t do it. See an attorney instead.

Mistake #2: Improper Notice

All commercial evictions must be preceded by proper notice to the tenant. This notice period may be specified in your lease agreement. If not, Florida law requires that you provide a three-day notice if the issue is failure to pay rent and 15 days if you want to evict them for non-monetary reasons, such as failure to keep the premises clean or making undue amounts of noise.

All notices should include the following information:

  • The basis for the default
  • Date of default and time to cure (if applicable)
  • The outstanding rent balance (if applicable) and payment terms

If this notice is not served properly or fails to contain all required information, your eviction lawsuit will be dismissed, leaving you back at square one.

Mistake #3: Accepting a Partial Payment

After you serve the three-day notice, do not accept anything less than full payment. If the tenant offers a partial amount and promises to pay the rest later, and you accept it, any eviction proceedings based on that notice will likely be dismissed. This is not to say that you shouldn’t work with a tenant who is making a good faith effort to cure the default, but if it doesn’t work out, you will have to commence a new eviction action.

Mistake #4: Evicting a tenant who has filed for bankruptcy

Any commercial tenant who files for bankruptcy protection is protected by an automatic stay of all creditor actions, including eviction proceedings. You can petition for relief from the stay for certain reasons (e.g., a continuing stay will cause you financial harm or the tenant has no equity in the premises) but until you receive it, any eviction actions will be illegal and can cause trouble for you.

Work with an Experienced Florida Commercial Eviction Lawyer

Commercial evictions are highly complicated and require strict compliance with matters like proper notice. At Reyes Law Group, we will assist you in enforcing your rights under the lease, including eviction proceedings, so that you don’t risk the costs of a mistake. To schedule a consultation with Attorney Reyes to review your situation, call 954-369-1993.

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Reyes Law Group

Reyes Law Group represents clients in a multi-disciplinary legal practice involving real estate transactions and litigation with a “footprint” that covers the State of Florida. Over the firm’s first 10 years, Reyes Law Group has closed over $100M in commercial closings, representing buyers and sellers in contract negotiations, due diligence, and the related title review and policy issuance related to closings. In litigation, the firm has commercial litigation experience focused on prosecuting or defending claims such as breach of contracts, partition actions, trade secret violations, and breach of non-competes. However, our firm’s MAIN FOCUS is assisting asset and loan portfolio managers, investors and private lenders with a “ 4-PILLAR APPROACH” to the legal challenges they face with non-performing assets: 1) LOAN WORKOUTS; 2) COMMERCIAL FORECLOSURES (across the State of Florida); 3) COMMERCIAL EVICTIONS; and 4) REO COMMERCIAL CLOSINGS.30+ years’ legal experience means - WE CAN HELP!

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