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Commercial Tenant Landlord Laws in Florida 

Silvestri Law, P.A.  Aug. 25, 2023

Commercial leasing tends to be more complex than residential leasing. Commercial leases often last longer than residential ones, which is why it is critical for both parties to be familiar with commercial tenant-landlord laws in Florida as well as understand the key terms and conditions contained in the lease.  

With years of experience representing commercial tenants and landlords in St. Petersburg, Florida, and throughout the Greater Tampa Bay area, I know how important it is to have professional guidance when renting or leasing out commercial property. At Silvestri Law, P.A., I help clients with all issues related to commercial leases and tenancy. It is my job to protect your rights as a commercial landlord or tenant in Florida so you can devote focus to other parts of your life and business. 

Commercial Tenancy in Florida

A commercial tenancy can be simply defined as a tenancy for business purposes. Through a commercial lease, landlords and tenants can outline their rights and responsibilities and put into writing any other terms both parties agree to. Commercial property can be an office, shopping mall, factory, restaurant, gym, or any other premises that are not used for residential purposes.  

One of the biggest differences between a commercial lease and a residential lease is that the latter applies to properties or spaces designed for sleeping and day-to-day living. Because of these fundamental differences, commercial and residential leases are thus governed by different rules and laws.  

Florida Statutes Governing Commercial Tenancies

Florida law contains different rules for residential and commercial tenancies. For example, the restrictions for evicting a commercial tenant are less stringent compared to the restrictions for residential evictions.  

Nonetheless, commercial landlords must still follow specific procedures when it comes to evicting a commercial tenant and taking back possession of their property. Under the state law, there are three broad categories of commercial evictions:  

  1. eviction for holding over post-expiration;  

  1. eviction for non-payment of rent; and 

  1. eviction for failure to cure a material breach.  

In addition to understanding Florida statutes governing commercial tenancies, landlords and tenants must pay close attention when drafting, negotiating, and signing a commercial lease or rental agreement. These agreements, which include the terms agreed to by the tenant and landlord, will govern the relationship between the parties.  

Once either party agrees to the terms, it is practically impossible to refuse to abide by those terms during the duration of the commercial tenancy.  

Common Issues Faced by Commercial Tenants

Tenants in commercial tenancies may encounter a number of issues, including:  

  • Compliance with the laws, regulations, and codes. When negotiating a commercial lease, tenants should check the compliance terms and ensure they are not on the hook for any future compliance expenses they were not aware of.  

  • Maintenance and repairs. A commercial lease should clearly outline who is responsible for what. This is especially true for maintenance and repairs, which tends to be some of the most commonly disputed issues in commercial leases.  

  • Default. Tenants should also check whether the commercial lease has a default clause. In tenancies, a default occurs when either party – the tenant or landlord – fails to follow what is in the lease.   

  • Subleasing. At some point in the commercial tenancy, a tenant may consider subleasing, which is renting out a portion of or the entire rental property to a third party (known as the sublessee). When this happens, it is critical to review the lease to make sure that the contract does not explicitly prohibit subleasing.  

  • Lease renewals and termination. Commercial tenants should also review the lease to understand the terms related to lease renewals and termination. Many disputes among tenants and landlords arise because they do not understand their rights pertaining to renewing or terminating the lease.  

  • Insurance. Lease agreements usually contain insurance requirements. In most cases, the lease requires the tenant to purchase and carry liability insurance with a specified coverage requirement.  

The list above is by no means exhaustive. There are many other issues commercial tenants may encounter during the lease term. When you’re entangled in any commercial landlord-tenant dispute, it’s crucial to contact a commercial real estate attorney in your area. Your attorney can help you understand your rights, legal options, and your best path toward a sound resolution. 

Rights and Responsibilities in Commercial Lease

A commercial lease will usually provide a detailed list of rights and responsibilities of both parties. No two commercial lease agreements are alike, which is why your rights and responsibilities may differ across various leases. 

Some of the basic and most common rights of tenants include: 

  • the right to quiet enjoyment 

  • the right to be free from self-help eviction 

  • the right to withhold rent 

  • remedies for the landlord’s breach of lease 

Some of the basic and most common rights of landlords include: 

  • the right to access the premises 

  • the right to collect rent and late fees 

  • the right to evict a tenant for their breach of lease 

Typically, a commercial lease will outline which party (the landlord or tenant) is responsible for: 

  • ensuring the property’s compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and codes 

  • making repairs to the property 

  • making improvements to the property 

  • managing the insurance of the property 

If you are having a dispute with your landlord or tenant, a thorough review of a commercial lease could potentially help you understand who is right and who is wrong depending on what it says about your or the other party’s rights and responsibilities.  

Need a Professional to Review Your Lease?

If you need legal guidance or assistance with any aspect of commercial tenancy, I am here to help. At Silvestri Law, P.A., I can help you review your lease and explain how the commercial tenant-landlord laws in Florida relate to your specific case. Reach out to my office in St. Petersburg, Florida, to request a free initial consultation and discuss your situation.