On-Time Rent Payments Fell in Florida in the First Month of May—How Commercial Landlords Can Protect their Rights
Beyond being a serious public health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a considerable economic toll on our region. Many individuals and businesses have seen a disruption in their income. Unfortunately, this is creating a problem for both commercial and residential tenants.
According to a report from the Sun Sentinel, only 85.5 percent of tenants paid all or part of their rent in the first week of May—this is the lowest on-time rental payment rate in years. For commercial landlords, the COVID-19 pandemic presents some unique challenges. Here, our West Palm Beach commercial landlord attorneys highlight four tips if you are dealing with a financially distressed tenant.
Four Tips to Handle Financially Distressed Commercial Tenants During COVID-19
- Follow the Legal Process and Avoid Self-Help Evictions
Commercial landlords in South Florida are advised to avoid self help evictions. If a commercial tenant has fallen behind on their rental obligations, landlords should not simply enter the premises and start removing the tenant’s property. Landlords must follow the proper legal protocols. Failure to do so could undermine your rights. If your commercial tenant is substantially behind on its rental obligations, our Florida commercial eviction lawyers can help.
2. Know Your Rights: No Obligation to Renegotiate a Lease
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some jurisdictions have suspended or delayed evictions. While the process may be slower, all commercial landlords should know that they have no obligation to renegotiate the terms of a lease. A commercial lease that was valid in January is still likely to be just as valid even in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
3. The Rental Market Matters, Flexibility May Make Sense
Commercial landlords are advised to carefully review the market before taking action to remove a financially distressed tenant. As the SunSentinel article notes, on-time rental payments are down in South Florida and across the United States. Many tenants and landlords are dealing with financial distress right now. Considering the economic conditions, it may be in the best interests of landlords to give additional flexibility to commercial tenants. Of course, this is a case-by-case issue. Parties should protect their interests.
- Get Everything in Writing
Finally, if you have any correspondence with your tenant—whether you are sending a notification of delinquent rent payments or considering renegotiating the terms of the lease—it is imperative that you get everything in writing. Save everything. If a dispute arises or if eviction becomes necessary, these documents will serve as an important form of evidence.
Speak to Our South Florida Commercial Landlord Attorney Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our West Palm Beach landlord-tenant litigation lawyers are solutions-focused advocates for our clients. If you need legal guidance, we are ready to help. To set up a strictly confidential consultation with an experienced attorney, please call us now. With law offices in West Palm Beach, Wellington and Miami, we represent commercial landlords throughout South Florida, including in Miami Beach, Hollywood, Plantation, Sunrise, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, and Lighthouse Point.