Evictions- Can a Landlord in Florida Have the Registry Rent Money Disbursed Prior to obtaining an Eviction Judgment?
Part, I Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes deals with the laws governing non-residential tenancies. Let’s assume you are a commercial landlord whose tenant is late on their rent. You serve them a proper notice to pay the past due rent or vacate, but the tenant still fails to comply. So, you retain an eviction attorney to file an eviction against your commercial tenant. Let us further assume that as the commercial landlord, you have to make your loan payment for the property, but you’re short on cash to make the payment; what can you do? Alternatively, we can assume that the rent from your commercial property is your only source of income, so you have a dire need for the money that the commercial tenant is depositing into the Court registry while the eviction is pending.
Purpose and Function of Court Registry During Eviction Proceeding
Florida law recognizes the importance of rental income, and as a result protects the right of the landlord to collect past due and unpaid rent even while a commercial eviction action remains pending against the tenant. The governing statute is Chapter 83.232. Under this statute, Florida law requires a tenant who is defending themselves from eviction to put the unpaid rent money into the court registry and all rent which accrues while the case remains pending. FLA. STAT. §83.232(1).
In defending both a residential eviction or a commercial eviction, the tenant is obligated to pay into the court registry the entire amount that is allegedly due, and any rent that accrues during the eviction process. FLA. STAT. §83.232(1) Should a judgment be found for the landlord, the rent monies that are in the registry will be disbursed to the landlord. Id. A tenant who files a counterclaim for damages against the landlord still has to deposit the rent payments due into the registry of the Court. FLA. STAT. §83.232(4). Should the tenant fail to pay into the registry, the tenant waives their right to any defense and the landlord is entitled to a default judgment. FLA. STAT. §83.232(5). This is the general process of collecting rent during an eviction. But what happens if the landlord needs the past due rent money right away?
Landlords Have Right to Claim the Entire or Partial Sum of the Rent Money being held in the Court’s Registry
Assuming the tenant has been paying rent into the Court registry while the eviction remains pending, in certain circumstances, the Landlord can ask that the Court disburse the rent even before a judgment is entered and while the case remains pending. Under §83.232(1), “[i]f the landlord is in actual danger of loss of the premises or other hardship” due to the rent not being paid, the landlord may apply for early disbursement for the entire or partial sum held in the registry. FLA. STAT. §83.232(1). Typically, such a motion for the rent must be supported by an Affidavit from the Landlord to the effect that the Landlord is in danger of loss if the rent money is not disbursed. If you are a landlord and need the assistance of an eviction lawyer to recover rent money from the Court registry, reach out for a free consultation with an eviction attorney at Edelboim Lieberman Revah Oshinsky PLLC today.