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Lease Disputes Lien Law

Can You File a Lien on Lease Property?

When one works on leased property, they may only they be able to lien the leasehold interest in some circumstances. The mechanic's lien law, F.S. 713.10, allows a landlord to protect his property from liens from lessee's construction by following a two-step process: One, having a provision in his lease which prohibits liens from attaching; and Two, recording that lease in the county where the property is located. This puts all interested parties on "notice" and protects the property from liens unless the improvement constitutes the "pith" of the lease. Thus, even though a lessor follows the steps above, his property may still be subject to a lien if the improvements are considered the "pith" of the lease. In such cases in Broward County, it is advisable to retain a Fort Lauderdale lien lawyer to fight on your behalf. When considering an attorney, always choose someone who also specializes in resolving legal matters between landlords and tenants – also known as lease disputes.

Determining Factors in Broward Courts

There is no clear definition of when the construction is the "pith" of the lease; however, there are a number of factors. If the construction is an integral part of the lease, where the lease requires the construction, then this may make it the pith of the lease. If it is obvious that the lease would not have been entered into without the improvements contemplated, this may subject the property to liens. Another factor is the character of the property. When the lease refers to improvements to be made and the property is vacant or partially improved and not suitable for its intended use, this may make it subject to liens. The lessors conduct is also important if the lessor is actively involved in the construction process, his lien prohibition in the lease may be deemed a fraud on lienors and make the owners interest liable. The fact that the lessor knows or approves of the construction is not enough by itself, even if the lessor approves construction plans. These are just several of the factors considered by the courts.

If one can not lien the owners interest, what can one lien? The answer is the leasehold interest. This is not much security, especially if the tenant defaults on the lease. The point is that one must know who all the parties are, not just whether one's client is reputable. If one is going to work on leased property which is properly protected or seems to be, try to get a personal guarantee from one's client or the general contractor. This is a very complex area of the law, as such it would be advisable to consult with your Broward Mechanic's lien attorney prior to working on a big job which is leased and where the lessor is not the party who contracted for the improvements in Fort Lauderdale or Hollywood.

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Lease Disputes

Can Commercial Leases be Terminated?

Update, January 5, 2018: Florida's new marijuana laws have raised many questions among landlords and tenants. Lease lawyer David S. Tupler addresses some of the biggest concerns in this blog.

In Florida, a commercial lease may be legally "broken" or prematurely terminated by a Broward County landlord or a tenant when the lessor or lessee fails to honor something previously agreed upon according to the agreement, or when the landlord or tenant fails to obey an applicable law which justifies termination of the lease in Fort Lauderdale or Hollywood. Although you should always consult with a Broward lease attorney prior to taking legal action, here is some general information to get you started.

When a landlord or tenant fails to do something agreed upon a commercial lease, this is called a "breach" of the agreement. A basic and simple example of a breach of lease is when a lessee fails to pay rent. When this happens, a lessor usually has the right to terminate the agreement after written notice and opportunity to cure the default has been provided to the tenant in accordance with Florida statutes. Another example of a breach might be if a landlord fails to make promised repairs to a leased property and the agreement specifies that the lessor will make certain repairs within a specified time period.

Written notice of a breach and the opportunity to cure are essential prerequisites prior to termination of a commercial lease. For example, one of the conditions of a commercial lease may be that the lessor promises to maintain a certain amount of liability insurance on the leased property. If the landlord fails to comply with this condition, the tenant must notify the lessor in writing of the breach and give the landlord sufficient time to obtain the promised liability insurance before seeking to terminate the lease.

Breach Isn't Always Grounds for Nullification

Breach of one condition of a commercial lease does not mean that termination of the agreement will always be legally justified. If a breach does not cause sufficient harm or damage to the interests of one party, a termination of the document may not be warranted in the eyes of Broward courts. A lease dispute lawyer must prove that the breach caused a material prejudice to the party seeking the termination. In addition, the court must consider whether forfeiture of the property would result in an unconscionable, inequitable or unjust eviction from a dwelling in Fort Lauderdale or Hollywood.

Certain conditions of a commercial lease may be implied even if they are not expressly spelled out in an agreement. One implied condition in a commercial lease is the right of a tlessee to quiet and peaceable possession and enjoyment of property. If a landlord’s actions make it essentially impossible for the tenant to have quiet and peaceable possession of the leased property, a tenant may be justified in seeking to break the lease even if there is no language in the agreement specifically prohibiting the lessor's actions.

Each commercial lease is unique to the individuals and entities involved. Prematurely breaking a commercial lease without legal grounds to do so will likely have lasting negative legal ramifications and result in damaged business relationships. An individual or entity seeking to prematurely terminate a commercial lease should promptly consult with legal counsel. A more favorable and cost-effective solution for premature termination of a commercial lease may be to attempt negotiation, through counsel, of a mutually satisfactory agreement to terminate. If you are considering the termination of a commercial agreement, you should contact an attorney experienced in disputes involving leases in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and throughout Broward County.