Florida’s Governor signs into law HB 469, which streamlines the execution of Florida real property leases by eliminating all statutory witness requirements.
On June 27, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law House Bill 469 (HB 469), which amends Section 689.01 of the Florida Statutes, eliminating the requirement for two subscribing witnesses to validate a landlord’s execution of a lease with a term exceeding one year. The new law took effect on July 1, 2020.
Section 689.01 Florida Statutes requires instruments that convey or transfer title or other interests in Florida real property for a term of more than one year be:
Signed by the conveying or transferring party in the presence of two subscribing witnesses.
Under Florida law, a lease is an estate in real property. Prior to the effective date of the new legislation, Florida required two subscribing witnesses to validate the landlord’s signature for leases with a term exceeding one year. This requirement applied to both commercial and residential leases. The stated purpose for requiring subscribing witnesses for a lease was to protect the landlord in the event a dispute arose concerning the validity of the landlord’s signature.
The new legislation, effective for leases executed on or after July 1, 2020, removes the statutory requirement for witnesses to the execution of any lease of real property, regardless of the lease term. Instruments conveying other interests in real property for a period of more than one year, like a deed, still require two subscribing witnesses.
With the new law, Florida joins most other states in not requiring witnesses for the execution of real property leases. This is good news for landlords with additional properties outside of Florida because it will allow them to standardize both their lease forms and procedures. Counsel for landlords with Florida properties should review their lease forms and consider deleting witness signature lines and other references to witness requirements.
The new law streamlines the process of executing leases by reducing the number of people required to be present at signing. While seemingly a small step, when multiplied over the number of Florida leases signed annually, the aggregate reduction in the burden on landlords should be substantial.
ESQ.title law firm has over 20 years’ experience as advisors to foreign national and domestic real estate investors, real estate owners and tenants, developers, real estate investment companies, and ultra-affluent high net worth individuals.
If you have any questions on whether a particular a commercial real estate transaction is right for you, need assistance in leasing or in analyzing due diligence on a particular opportunity, contact us at 305-501-2836 or visit us at www.JordanLawyers.law for immediate assistance. Our offices are conveniently located in Miami, Florida (Coral Gables), and service clients throughout the State of Florida.