Critical Ways a Commercial Eviction Differs from a Residential Eviction

As a landlord, your procedure for eviction is heavily dependent on whether the property you rent is residential or commercial. Knowing the difference is crucial to avoiding hefty fines for improper procedures. While there are some similarities between the eviction process for these two different types of properties, residential evictions are generally more difficult as Florida law grants residential tenants stronger protections and more stringent limitations on notice periods.

1. Differences in Leasing

The primary difference between commercial and residential evictions is how their lease functions. In both cases, the most common reason for eviction will be nonpayment, but otherwise, the difference in leases for these two tenants could cause you trouble when it’s time to evict. For residential tenants, the renter normally does not have the ability to negotiate their lease with the landlord. In commercial leases, the tenant will almost always negotiate their lease; this means that it is crucial for the landlord to carefully review their Lease Agreement with a commercial tenant before they initiate legal action to make sure they have grounds to evict. Even more critical is correctly negotiating your lease with a commercial tenant in the first place, to ensure that the issues you base an eviction on are anticipated and well founded.  

2. Differences in Tenant Rights

A commercial tenant is not afforded the same rights as a residential tenant. There is no obligation for a commercial landlord to maintain the property, provide a habitable environment, or provide privacy unless it was included in the lease. Often, commercial tenants are required to maintain the property themselves. A residential tenant in Florida, however, has substantially more rights afforded to them. Even if there is no formal lease agreement, a residential tenant is afforded rights by Florida law. If there is a lease, the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act still takes precedent. A landlord must provide reasonable notice to enter the dwelling of a residential tenant, and allow for time to correct any action which is grounds for eviction. Residential tenants in Florida even have the right to withhold rent in extraordinary circumstances.

3. Differences in Litigation

While the litigation “pattern” for residential and commercial evictions are comparable, there are differences that impact the litigation.  Some pragmatic examples are – single family homes versus warehouses or duplexes/triplexes versus multi-unit complexes; some cases dealing with underlying financings like a simple 30-year fixed term Mortgage and Note, versus a semi-adjustable rate term Note and Mortgage, and so on.  Yes, there are differences between residential and commercial evictions.  Suffice it to say, not one size fits all.  Knowing the distinctions, the timing, and what to pursue and when, is critical.  The devil is in the procedural details – and we know them.  

From leasing to eviction, rental properties can present challenging legal entanglements. Make sure your leases are written with the assistance of experienced legal counsel to ensure clarity and support for eviction, if necessary, and make the process much easier. Carlos Reyes and the Reyes Law Group have over 30 years of experience helping Florida landlords draft effective leases and win eviction cases. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

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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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