Beginning Eviction Proceedings Against a Florida Commercial Tenant
Being a commercial landlord can be both profitable and difficult. When your tenants adhere to your lease, maintain the space and pay rent on time, you have little to worry about. However, when a tenant breaches the commercial lease, you are left with a choice: Do you work with the tenant to continue with your relationship or do you begin eviction proceedings? Evicting a commercial tenant is not as simple as asking them to leave. You must closely follow the law, which is why it is best to work with an experienced West Palm Beach commercial real estate attorney.
Reasons for Eviction
You must have a reason to evict a business based on your lease with them or Florida law. The most typical reason why you would need to begin eviction proceedings is because a business cannot pay rent. Other reasons may be direct violations of the lease such as if the tenant modified the space without permission or sublet the premises without consent. However, if the reason for eviction is not based on rent or another financial issue, you may have to prove that the eviction was based on an issue that materially affected your interests like reducing the rental value of the space.
Whether or not you can evict a tenant because you have a better offer for the space will depend on your lease. If you are not sure whether you have the right to begin eviction proceedings, speak with an experienced Florida commercial real estate lawyer.
Starting the Eviction Process
Under Florida law, you must give your commercial tenant notice of upcoming eviction proceedings. The purpose of this brief time period is to allow a tenant to fix the problem thereby making eviction unnecessary. The lease between you and the tenant may outline the notice they are entitled to, such as 30 or 90 days. However, if the lease does not discuss the issue, you must provide 3 days notice before you begin eviction based on nonpayment of rent. If eviction is based on another reason, you must give your tenant 15 days before starting the proceedings.
Once the period of notice is complete, your attorney will file a complaint in the county where your commercial property is located. This complaint must be served to the tenant who then has the chance to respond and file a counterclaim. If your lease provides for how the commercial tenant must be served, you should adhere to this. If your lease does not discuss service of a complaint, you should provide actual delivery of the complaint to the tenant. If the tenant has abandoned the premises, your attorney can explain the most practical and lawful method of providing notice.
Self-Help is Usually Not Allowed
When you are frustrated with a tenant who is not cooperating with the duties prescribed under the lease or with your eviction proceedings, you may be tempted to go in and change the locks or remove the tenant’s belongings. You should not do this. Under Florida law, landlords rarely have the right to self-help, and when you do, it is in limited circumstances. Always discuss your rights with an attorney before taking matters into your own hands.
Contact Us For Help
If you are having trouble with one of your commercial tenants, contact Larry E. Bray in West Palm Beach at 561-571-8970. We can review your lease and answer your questions regarding your rights and duties as a landlord under Florida law. If your tenant has breached the lease, we can begin eviction proceedings for you.