Florida Governor’s Order Clarifies Eviction & Foreclosure Suspension, But Does Not Apply to Commercial Tenants
Clarifying the Florida Supreme Court’s March Administrative Order suspending the requirement for clerks to issue writs of possession, in April, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order suspending evictions and foreclosures for 45 days (from April 2) due to the coronavirus pandemic. While landlords have been sending out eviction notices at this time, they will only be executed once the moratoriums are lifted. It is also important for tenants to note that they are still contractually obligated to pay any back rent owed; usually within five days.
Still, there appears to be confusion as to whether DeSantis’ Order only applies to residential tenants or both commercial and residential tenants. The Order specifically suspends and tolls any statute providing for:
- A mortgage foreclosure cause of action under Florida Law for 45 days from April 2; and
- An eviction cause of action under Florida law solely as it relates to non-payment of rent by residential tenants due to the COVID-19 emergency for 45 days from April 2;
Indicating that the order does not apply to commercial tenants.
Commercial Landlords May Still Be in Need of Creative Options If Tenants Are Having Difficulties at This Time
Still, because a number of non-essential businesses have been forced to temporarily close, it is entirely possible that commercial tenants will still have difficulty making rent payments. Some commercial landlords have announced that they can offer rent relief to commercial tenants/businesses that have closed to the virus pandemic. Other landlords dealing with commercial tenants who cannot pay rent at this time may, instead, want to consider other options if it appears that a commercial eviction proceeding may take too long due to a number of courts being closed except for emergencies, such as a modified payment schedule; as long as any and all requirements detailed in the lease are still being followed.
If You Try to Enter into A Modification Without an Attorney’s Assistance, There Can Be Issues Later On
If you are a commercial landlord in need of assistance with a modification like this in order to get through this time until the courts reopen, it is still imperative that you work with a commercial landlord attorney, as any modification to the lease has to be done in writing and signed not only by the landlord and tenant, but also any guarantors. You will also want to thoroughly discuss and carefully consider the potential implications associated with agreeing to amend the lease so that you do not suffer from any unintended consequences. FIrst and foremost, always make sure that you do not agree to anything informally via email correspondence.
Our Florida Commercial Landlord & Tenant Attorneys Are Available at This Time to Help
If you have any questions about your commercial lease, enforcing it, or handling an eviction proceeding at this time, contact our Tampa commercial landlord and tenant attorneys at HD Law Partners to ensure that you are on the right path. We are still working through this time to ensure that clients have all of their legal questions and concerns addressed, and we can offer consultations over the phone so as to ensure safety.