landlord category

PROTECTING LANDLORDS FROM LIENS FOR TENANT IMPROVEMENTS

By Michael E. Workman, Esq.
Clark, Campbell, Lancaster & Munson, P.A.

Often a tenant will want to make improvements to the premises that it is leasing from a landlord, and sometimes the lease agreement will require the tenant to make improvements. When the tenant contracts for the construction of such improvements, construction liens can attach to the tenant’s leasehold interest in the leased premises pursuant to Florida’s Construction Lien Law. However, the Construction Lien Law also provides a way for the landlord to protect its fee simple interest in the leased premises from the tenant’s construction liens.

A lot in a mobile home park leased to the owner of a mobile home will not be subject to tenant liens. In other instances, the landlord’s interest in the leased premises will not be subject to construction liens for the tenant’s improvements if: a) the lease agreement expressly states that the landlord’s interest shall not be subject to liens for tenant improvements; and b) the lease agreement or a memorandum of the lease that contains the express language prohibiting liens for tenant improvements is recorded in the public records where the leased premises are located prior to the recording of the Notice of Commencement for the tenant improvements.

If the lease agreement expressly states that the landlord’s interest shall not be subject to liens for tenant improvements, then the tenant is required to notify its contractor of the provisions in the lease agreement. The knowing or willful failure of the tenant to provide such notice to the contractor makes the contract between the tenant and contractor voidable at the contractor’s option. A tenant’s contractor may make written demand upon the landlord for a copy of the lease provisions prohibiting liens for tenant improvements, and the copy provided by the landlord must be verified in writing as being true under penalties of perjury.

It is critical that a landlord strictly comply with the provisions of the Construction Lien Law to protect the landlord’s interest in the leased premises from tenant liens. Negotiating lease terms can be a complicated process, and an experienced real estate attorney can help guide you along the way.

Michael E. Workman is a shareholder with the law firm of Clark, Campbell, Lancaster & Munson, P.A., in Lakeland. Questions can be submitted to thelaw@cclmlaw.com

Mike Workman

Michael Workman first knew he wanted to become both an attorney and CPA during his junior year at Winter Haven High School when he took classes in accounting and business law.Michael accomplished this goal through his studies at Stetson University and the University of Florida College of Law, ultimately being admitted to The Florida Bar in the fall of 1997 and becoming licensed as a CPA by The State of Florida in the spring of 1998.With a background in both law and accounting, Michael planned for his practice to include probate and estate planning, corporate and entity work, and some real estate work.True to plan, that’s exactly how Michael’s career progressed during his first three years of practice with his time being almost evenly divided among those three areas.However, Michael had the opportunity to join Clark Campbell in 2001, and the needs of the firm’s clients coupled with his strong background in title insurance lead to Michael concentrating his practice in the area of real estate law and ultimately becoming Board Certified by The Florida Bar as a specialist in the area of real estate law in 2005.

Michael has been married to his wife Dena since 2003, and they are both very active in the lives of their fraternal twins, John and Sarah.Additionally, Michael has recently participated in several team-building endurance events sponsored by a company called GORUCK.These events are billed as a slice of Special Operations training for civilians where leadership is taught and teamwork is demanded.Michael has learned more about teamwork and bonded more closely with his teammates during these events than would have ever been possible in “normal” everyday life.The saying “one team, one fight” is often heard and repeated during GORUCK events, and Michael seeks to exemplify that same spirit of teamwork in his practice of law.
Mike Workman

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