In yet another affirmation of the strength of the Florida Landlord Tenant
Act, the Fourth District Court of Appeal recently held that a commercial
tenant's failure to pay accruing rent into the court registry during
the pendency of an eviction proceeding provides an automatic non-discretionary
basis to immediately evict the tent. In Poal Wk Taft, LLC v. Johnson Medical
Center Corp, 2010 WL 3782103 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010), the court order the
trial court to enter a judgment of possession against a commercial tenant
who failed to timely pay the accruing rent during the case. The Landlord
had instituted an eviction action for nonpayment of rent. The trial court
entered an order directing the tenant to pay the past due rent into the
court registry pursuant to Fla. Stat. 83.232 when due under the terms
of the Lease. The tenant made the first payment, but failed to make the
second monthly rent payment into the court registry. The tenant argued
that it had a grace period under the Lease for rent payments. When the
Landlord moved for judgment of possession, the trial court deferred ruling
until it could hold an evidentiary hearing. The Landlord appealed. On
appeal, the appellate court held that the trial court had no discretion
to deny Landlord's request. The court held that the payment into the
registry is required to be made "when due" and did not permit
the tenant to take advantage of a grace period.
The case is a powerful tool for commercial landlords who seek possession
of their premises and find themselves having to litigate with tenants
who attempt to avoid paying while the case remains pending.
Utilizing this mechanism and others make
obtaining possession of commercial leased premises on an expedited basis
possible in Florida.
Alex P. Rosenthal, Esq.
Rosenthal Law Group
2115 North Commerce Parkway
Weston, FL 33326