It’s been a struggle for countless businesses.
They’ve been forced to close their doors, but the bills keep piling up, specifically their rent payments.
And now some small business owners say their landlords are threatening evictions.
”I’m shut down, so I feel it would only be fair to work with me,” said Kathy Karner, the owner of a My Gym, a children’s fitness center in southwest Miami-Dade.
She’s struggling to keep her business afloat. She had to close and cancel virtually everything except her virtual classes.
”I’ve lost 60%, at least, of our income and I’ve had to let go of four of my employees,” Karner said.
While she’s filed for loans, the money hasn’t come yet. That’s why on April 1 she wasn’t able to pay her rent at the Kendall Hammock Plaza.
Two weeks later, Kathy got a notice from her landlord saying she needed to pay rent, at least part of it, or else they’d start the eviction process.
“At that point I paid him half the rent. However, afterwards I got another phone call demanding the second half,” Karner said.
We reached out to the attorney listed as the registered agent for the property to see if the property owner plans to work out a solution with his tenants before moving forward with the eviction process. However, the attorney told us he was still working to reach his client to discuss the matter.
While Miami-Dade Police have suspended eviction enforcement until further notice, it doesn’t stop commercial landlords from moving forward with the eviction process.
“The courts are closed for non-essential matters,” said business and real estate attorney Juan Jorge Perez. “Although an attorney could technically file the case, it’s not likely going to go anywhere.”
Perez is not connected to this particular case, but he says tenants still have an obligation to pay rent and says the best thing tenants and landlords can do is start communicating and negotiating to come up with a temporary solution.
“The idea would be to negotiate now, save the business at the location, which will obviously save the landlords property as well by having a tenant until we can just get back to normal," he said.
Perez suggested that tenants could discuss with their landlords about possibly using the last month’s rent and security deposit to pay for rent now, and figure out a way to replenish that in the future.
Residential evictions for non-payments have been temporarily suspended by the governor.