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Tenants Must Still Pay Rent into the Court Registry to Defend Against Eviction Even in the Face of the COVID 19-Pandemic

While courts may be reluctant to evict tenants for non-payment of rent during the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Third District Court of Appeal recently held that courts are nevertheless obligated to do so absent tenant’s payment of rent into the court registry.

In a residential landlord-tenant eviction action, the court in 1560-1568 Drexel Avenue, LLC v. Dalton, held that after Governor DeSantos’ Executive Order 20-180 expired on October 1, 2020, which suspended residential evictions for non-payment of rent, the tenant (even if affected by the Covid-19 pandemic) was required to pay rent into the court registry to defend against the eviction action, unless the tenant interposed the defense of payment – which the tenant in that case did not do.

The Third District Court of Appeal held that the trial court was required to immediately determine the amount of rent due, and, consistent with Fla. Stat. §83.60(02), enter an order forthwith, requiring the tenant to pay all accrued past-due rent, as well as ongoing rent, and, if the tenant failed to do so, the landlord was entitled to an immediate default judgment for removal of the tenant with a writ of possession to issue without further notice or hearing.

Rosenthal Law Group has routinely and successfully represented commercial landlords in evicting commercial tenants for nonpayment of rent and other reasons unrelated to the nonpayment of rent. It has successfully obtained recovery of money damages as well for commercial landlords. Rosenthal Law Group is available to assist commercial landlords with all their lease negotiations and litigation needs.