Premier Boutique Business Litigation Law Firm Serving All of Florida

The First of the Month Means the First of the Month for Payment of Rent, Even in the Age of Covid-19

Commercial Landlords are entitled to a judgment of possession against a tenant who fails to timely deposit rent into the court registry on the due date even during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

In the Cove & Deerfield Beach, LLC v. R Fast, Inc., 2020 WL 6937858 (Fla. 4th DCA 2020), the Fourth District Court of Appeal recently ruled that a commercial landlord was entitled to possession of the premises when the clerk deposited the rent payment into the court registry only one day after the due date, notwithstanding the fact that the tenant had mailed the payment to the clerk two days before the due date.

The trial court relied upon a Florida Supreme Court Administrative Order providing that an emergency health condition exists and other circuit court administrative orders providing that the court registry is not an “essential and critical proceeding” in ruling that the tenant’s timely mailing of the rent payment to the clerk was sufficient during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Fourth District Court of Appeal disagreed.

The Appellate Court noted that, notwithstanding Covid-19, the clerk’s office was open on the due date. The Court reaffirmed that - even in the age of the current COVID-19 pandemic - a trial court lacks discretion to deny landlord possession of the premises when a tenant fails to deposit rent into the court registry on the due date.

Rosenthal Law Group is available to assist commercial landlords with drafting and reviewing commercial lease agreements and can provide litigation assistance if faced with commercial lease disputes.