Commercial Eviction Procedures
When renting commercial property, there is a contractual agreement between a business owner and landlord. The contents of this agreement vary from one lease to another, but one underlying premise is constant: if the rent isn't paid, or the business owner violates the agreement in some fashion, the landlord has the right to evict. Landlords need to be aware, however, that there are specific procedures to follow in an eviction and that any failure to do so could result in the dismissal of the eviction lawsuit.
In the case of an eviction due to overdue rent, the landlord must present the tenant with a written three-day notice, indicating the intent to evict. This notice must include the amount owed for rent, including applicable taxes, and the address of the rental property. The notice must advise the tenant to pay the rent within the three days or surrender possession of the property to the landlord. The date that the payment must be received by must also be listed in the notice. The landlord must also be prepared to prove that they delivered the notice, and that the tenant received them. Failure to comply and either pay overdue rent or vacate the premises gives the landlord authorisation to proceed with an eviction lawsuit.
Evictions Not Related to Rent
Tenants in a commercial lease have a number of obligations outside of those to pay rent. They must also treat the maintenance of the property, signage and the usage of the premises with due care and respect. The lease agreement spells out what constitutes actionable, prohibited activity or behaviour. If the notice makes no mention of notice regarding the issue, the landlord must provide 15 days written notice to rectify the situation or vacate the property. Should the tenant fail to meet either obligation, the landlord may file an eviction lawsuit, including a complaint form indicating the facts authorising the removal of the tenant.
A landlord should never engage in a "self-help" eviction. A self-help eviction takes place when a landlord attempts to oust a tenant without filing a complaint with the courts and following mandatory legal eviction procedures. Attempting to force out tenants without adhering to the legal eviction process constitutes a wrongful eviction and may allow the tenant to collect damages.
Tenants who fail to surrender the property at the end of their lease without renewing the lease are considered "holdover" tenants. The lease usually stipulates consequences of holdover tenancy, usually in the form of increased rent as a deterrent to stay. If the lease document is silent on the topic, however, the landlord may legally demand and recover up to double the normal monthly rent, along with interest. The legal process from removing holdover tenants is much like an eviction and follows the same procedures.