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Landlord-tenant dispute for business’s unpaid rent sparks lawsuit

| Apr 9, 2021 | Uncategorized |

The ongoing health crisis and the accompanying challenges personally and financially have impacted many in Florida. This is true for people who own businesses and needed to downsize; individuals who have faced reduced work or lost their jobs; and landlords and tenants. For most people, it may be difficult to look at a case of unpaid rent from the perspective of a landlord and be sympathetic, but owners have rights to recover what they are owed regardless of the situation. If rent is not paid on a commercial or residential property, it may be necessary to file a claim to receive payment.

Owners sues movie theater tenant for unpaid rent

A movie theater operator is accused by the property owner of failing to pay more than $100,000 in rent and is being sued. The plaintiff owns the shopping center where the theater is located and the payments owed are through March. The cinema was given notice to either pay or surrender the property, but has done neither. The theater has been closed since the pandemic started, though it says the closure is temporary. The state ordered all theaters to shut down operations to avoid crowds and endanger health. Since then, some theaters have restarted operations.

The claim is for breach of contract and the plaintiff wants to evict the operator. More than $30,000 in damages are also being sought. Because of the contract breach, the owner claims to be entitled to rent, damages, court costs and more. State law allows landlords to file claims to receive unpaid rent. Property seizure is an option in certain circumstances. In this suit, the landlord also seeks whatever is in the theater including projection equipment, seats, computers, refrigerators and more.

Professional legal assistance may be needed in landlord-tenant cases

Landlord-tenant law is often framed from the viewpoint of a tenant who is being wronged by an aggressive landlord. This is an unfair perception that downplays the landlord’s rights. When a property is rented, there is a legal contract that must be adhered to. Extenuating circumstances aside, the landlord retains the right to recover for what was lost whether that is through negotiation or in a legal filing. This can be challenging in commercial leases. For the landlord, having legal guidance can assess all the options and determine the preferable course to recover what is owed or to take control of the property and the items therein.

 

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Dana Watts is a board certified civil trial lawyer by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization with more than 30 years of litigation experience. He also received an AV* peer review rating through Martindale-Hubbell.

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Dana J. Watts Attorney at Law

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