Failure of Commercial Tenant to Pay Rent into Courts Registry

Failure of Commercial Tenant to Pay Rent into Court’s Registry

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Florida Statute s. 83.232 requires a commercial tenant to pay into the court registry the amount of rent the commercial landlord claims is unpaid in the eviction complaint in addition to rental payments owed during the pendency of the eviction lawsuit when such payments are owed per the lease. If the tenant disputes the amount of unpaid rent, the tenant must pay the amount the court determines to be paid to the court’s registry in addition to rental payments owed during the pendency of the eviction lawsuit when such payments are owed per the lease. And, if the tenant believes it has paid the rent, the tenant can assert the defense of payment or satisfaction to “try” to avoid paying rent into the court’s registry. However, the court can still order the tenant to pay into the court’s registry the rent that is owed during the pendency of the eviction lawsuit when such payments are owed per the lease.

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Of importance, s. 83.232(5) provides, “Failure of the tenant to pay the rent into the court registry pursuant to court order shall be deemed an absolute waiver of the tenant’s defenses. In such case, the landlord is entitled to an immediate default for possession without further notice or hearing thereon.”

It is non uncommon for a tenant to contest the amount of rent owed or assert the defense of payment or satisfaction to avoid depositing rent into the court’s registry. It is also not uncommon for a court to enter an order that requires the tenant to, at a minimum, deposit rent that accrues during the pendency of the lawsuit into the court’s registry at the time the rent is due per the lease.   If the court enters such order and the tenant fails to pay the rent, the tenant WAIVES any defenses it otherwise has meaning it will get evicted.

In Misha Enterprises v. Gar Enterprises, LLC, 117 So.3d 850 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013), the tenant argued it did not have to pay rent into the court’s registry because it asserted the defense of payment. Notwithstanding this defense, the court still ordered the tenant to pay rent that accrues during the pendency of the action into the court’s registry. The tenant failed to do so. The appellate court held that the tenant’s failure to comply with the court’s order entitled the landlord to an immediate default for possession (eviction of tenant).

Please contact David Adelstein at dadelstein@gmail.com or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.