Business tenants, leases and eviction: Things you need to know

When you sign a lease for your business, you hope that the relationship with your landlord remains strong until the day you decide to leave. While this is your hope, things don't always work out this way. It's possible you could find yourself in a dispute with your landlord, which complicates your lease and relationship.

If you run into trouble as a tenant, the best thing you can do is review your lease in great detail. This will give you a clear idea of what's expected of you, and what you can and can't do.

Is your landlord trying to evict you?

If your landlord wants to evict you and/or terminate your lease, you can refer to your contract for a clear idea of when this is allowed. This may be permissible if one or more of the following occurs:

  • You fail to pay your rent in full and/or on time
  • You violated a clause or condition of your lease
  • You violated real estate law

If your landlord wants to terminate your lease or evict you, they must have grounds for doing so. They must also send a notice of termination, which outlines why they're taking action and what you're expected to do next.

A termination notice typically provides more than one option, such as:

  • Cure or quit: This means you must correct the violation of the agreement within a certain period of time, such as one week or one month.
  • Pay rent or quit: You're required to pay the rent you owe within a certain period of time, or else move out of the property.
  • Unconditional quit: You must leave the property without the opportunity to make things right.

Can you break a lease?

If you're not happy with your landlord, you may want to break your lease. Before doing so, make sure you have grounds for taking action. Here are some reasons why you may be able to escape a lease early:

  • The landlord is in violation of the lease, such as by not keeping the property up to health and safety standards required by the state
  • There is significant damage to the property, such as that caused by a natural disaster

If you find yourself facing lease contract litigation, it's critical to review your lease to ensure that you understand your legal rights. From there, devise a defense strategy that allows you to put your disagreement in the past with minimal impact on your business.

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