Is withholding rent on a commercial lease ever a good idea? In this article, you will find the answer. Read on to learn when withholding rent on a commercial lease can be a good idea directly from an experienced Florida Real Estate Lawyer.
Withholding Rent on a Commercial Lease – What You Need to Know
Although most relationships between commercial tenants and landlords are beneficial for both parties, there are exceptions.
If you are a commercial tenant in one of those exceptions and, perhaps, your landlord is treating you inappropriately, you might be considering withholding rent. Unfortunately, in most cases, this is not a good idea. You might, however, have some luck with this strategy if your landlord has rendered the property unusable.
Before you proceed with withholding rent on a commercial lease, the first step you need to take is to review your lease agreement. Many leases do not explicitly state that the landlord must maintain the property and make all necessary repairs. In addition, many commercial leases contain a unique procedure for notifying the landlord about essential maintenance as well as your intention to withhold rent.
Suppose your particular commercial lease does not include such a procedure. In that case, you are allowed under Florida law to withhold rent from your commercial landlord as long as you meet certain conditions. These conditions are:
- The landlord has either refused or failed to make the necessary repairs;
- The property has become untenantable due to the landlord’s failure to maintain the premises and make the necessary repairs;
- You have notified the landlord of your intention to withhold rent if the required repairs do not occur within twenty days.
In Florida, commercial tenants have the right to withhold rent for the pay periods during which the property remains unusable. Once a landlord has made all the necessary repairs, the tenant who withheld rent must pay the total amount of rent.
It is important to note that this statutory procedure does not prevent landlords from entering into written agreements with their tenants to lengthen the time they have to make the necessary repairs.
When Withholding Rent on a Commercial Lease Does Not Work
Even if you choose to withhold rent until your landlord makes the necessary repairs, that does not mean they will do so. If the property continues to be unusable, usually, you will be permitted to terminate your commercial lease and abandon the property. In this situation, you will not be responsible for rent or any other additional fees.
Before You Decide to Withhold Rent, Speak With an Experienced Attorney
As you can see, withholding rent on a commercial lease is rarely a good idea. There are, however, circumstances in which doing so can be the only way to get a landlord to make necessary repairs. Nevertheless, withholding rent is not something you should do. It is best to speak with an experienced real estate attorney to determine whether this strategy is a good idea in your specific situation. Withholding rent can be a rather conflictive approach to solving the problem and can harm your relationship with your landlord and even damage your reputation and, therefore, your business.
To determine whether withholding rent from your commercial landlord is a good idea for you, give Attorney Romy B. Jurado Esq. a call today at (305) 921-0976 or send an email to [email protected] to schedule an initial consultation.
If you are a business owner and need legal help, attorney Romy B. Jurado is only one phone call or email away. Get in touch!