What to Do When a Commercial Tenant Walks Away from a Lease
Step One: Call a Lawyer, Not a Locksmith
Unfortunately, pandemic-related closures have now permanently closed over 100,000 businesses and counting. In the aftermath, some commercial lease tenants, especially small businesses, may find themselves unable to pay enough back rent to avoid eviction.
When this happens, valuable equipment, inventory, and other business assets may be held captive by the landlord behind a locked door.
But is it truly a case of “finders keepers” if the tenant is unable to pay up the back balance?
In short: No!
And if you’re not careful, restricting access or removing property can get you into some hot water of your own as a commercial landlord. Your attorney can advise you regarding how to gain appropriate court authorization to proceed with a lock-out or eventual property removal.
Learning how to evict commercial tenants the right way is crucial to protecting your income and reducing your risk of loss.
Our best advice: before you rent a dumpster from us and start clearing out the space to show to new prospective tenants, get qualified legal advice regarding the Commercial Tenancies statutes here in Texas, or in the state of your commercial real estate location.
A legal process must take place to protect both the tenant and the landlord, so do not change the locks-- or touch any tenant property-- without following qualified legal advice.
While the pandemic has arguably changed the economy forever, especially for small businesses, some processes and considerations have definitely not. As we watch for changes in how state and federal governments address the new economic crisis of empty retail space, we will wait and see what changes to the commercial tenant eviction process unfold over time.