When compared to residential lease agreements, commercial lease agreements have more complexities involved in the contractual terms, conditions, and obligations. Not meeting the relevant statutory requirements might result in void terms and potential disputes.
Are witnesses required in the execution of a commercial lease agreement in Florida? Read on to find out.
Florida Commercial Lease Requirements – Attention to Detail
No matter how experienced a business owner might be in his or her segment, drafting a solid commercial lease agreement requires a superior level of legal expertise.
From finding an appropriate commercial space to signing the paperwork, the execution of a Florida lease contract must meet specific requirements. In certain cases, a company urgently needs to secure a commercial space to operate, leading owners to fail to conduct proper due diligence.
Additionally, many landlords (lessors) rely on standard contractual forms found online. Even though it is possible to enforce a lease in such conditions, the generic language of template forms does not necessarily protect the interests of both parties involved.
Once properly executed and signed, a Florida lease agreement does not require notarization as a validity requirement. While all documents recorded in public records are notarized, notarizing a commercial lease agreement will not affect its validity – neither positively nor negatively.
The best strategy to avoid unexpected issues is to work with an expert contract law attorney to draft a flawless lease contract in Florida.
Are Witnesses Required on a Commercial Lease in Florida? – The Verdict
Originally, Florida Statutes required commercial leases with a term of more than one year to be signed in the presence of two subscribing witnesses. However, the amendment of Florida Statute §689.01 removed this requirement.
The change was introduced by House Bill 469, a new legislation signed into effect on June 27, 2020, by Governor Ron DeSantis. The Bill became law on July 1, 2020, marking a new era in the execution of lease contracts.
With the introduction of the amendment, Florida Statutes 689.01 (1) expressly state that “no subscribing witnesses shall be required for a lease of real property or any such instrument pertaining to a lease of real property.”
The reason behind the original requirement was the prevention of fraud or forgery. In such cases, the subscribing witnesses could help to guarantee the legitimacy of lease agreements in situations involving legal challenges and disputes.
Factors like the pandemic and the growing use of electronic transactions heavily contributed to the introduction of the Bill, which led many jurisdictions to question whether the witness requirement was actually necessary.
In many cases, the witness requirement only created an additional hassle for both landlords and tenants who had to ensure unnecessary delays and find trustworthy individuals to serve as witnesses.
The removal of this specific requirement has been widely welcomed. Currently, the signature of commercial and residential leases in Florida is an all-electronic process with full speed and efficiency for the parties involved. Only the interested parties need to execute and sign the lease contract.