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Real Estate Law

Pay Up or Get Out: The Landlord's Guide to the Perfect Eviction

By Matthew Sackel*

*Matthew Sackel is an attorney in the Litigation Department in Shutts and Bowen's West Palm Beach Office. He practices commercial litigation with a focus on real estate litigation and commercial landlord tenant law.

Excerpt from Pay Up or Get Out: The Landlord's Guide to the Perfect Eviction, 66 U. Miami L. Rev. 973 (Summer, 2012)

The recent downturn in the economy has spurred many businesses that thrived for years, such as Linens 'N Things, 2 to fail, leaving landlords with no choice but to evict tenants and seek damages for rent under the terms of the lease. South Florida's seasonal climate only exacerbates these conditions.

As an attorney who frequently evicts defaulting commercial tenants, I see lawyers all too often take unnecessary steps that increase costs, delay eviction, and fail to secure fixtures and property that may benefit their client. The purpose of this article is to provide practical steps and analysis for landlords to efficiently evict a defaulting tenant, while at the same time maximizing their potential to recover rent owed under the lease. First, this article will discuss the requirement of sending a three-day notice. Next, it will discuss the steps a landlord should consider if there is valuable equipment on the property, which a landlord may wish to secure in order to attract a future tenant. Finally, the article will highlight several issues to consider when filing an eviction and damages complaint.

I. The Landlord's Options Upon Default

In Florida a landlord typically has three options when faced with a tenant who defaults on rent payments and vacates the rented premises before the end of the lease term: (1) the landlord may treat the lease as terminated and retake possession exclusively for his own purposes; (2) the landlord may retake possession for the account of ...

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