A recent ruling by Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal brought an added measure of clarity to the application of a right of first refusal (ROFR) for commercial real estate tenants whose spaces are being sold as part of a bulk sale in a condominium setting.
The case stems from the sale of the commercial condominium unit leased to The Blind Monk, which is a wine and tapas bar at the ground level of a nine-story West Palm Beach condominium. The business filed suit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court alleging it was not given the opportunity to consider whether to exercise its right to purchase its space when the space was sold as part of a bulk sale of 139 units in the building.
The lawsuit against the selling landlord and bulk buyer alleged that they ignored the tenant’s ROFR as provided in its lease agreement. It states that in 2016 a realtor representing the landlord notified the tenant’s owner that its unit and others in the building were for sale and inquired whether he would be interested. The owner replied by citing his ROFR and requesting additional information.
About a week later, the realtor advised him that his unit was appraised at $250,000 and the landlord had received an offer, but contrary to the terms of the lease, the specific terms of the offer were not disclosed and the tenant was never given the opportunity to match them.