Tenant laws for commercial and residential properties can be very different. Residential tenant laws are in place to safeguard the specific rights of tenants who will live, eat, sleep, and raise their families. Because the courts frequently believe that commercial renters are in a stronger bargaining position with their landlords than residential tenants, commercial tenants frequently have significantly fewer protections than residential tenants.
The landlord will have the right to take the tenant’s personal belongings and change the locks during the eviction. Unlike in a residential eviction, a business landlord is not compelled to store the belongings left behind by the tenant. The landlord has the right to take the tenant’s belongings to the closest public space. The landlord should seek legal advice to find out if they can sell and dispose of the property.
What Are Landlords Forbidden from Doing?
When bringing an eviction case before the district court, landlords are required to follow the correct processes and adhere to commercial tenant eviction rights.
Most states require the landlord to provide the business renter three days’ notice before the commercial eviction process. It is illegal for landlords to evict renters by forcing them to leave by changing the locks on their doors, cutting off their utilities, and taking their belongings. Both business and residential tenants are subject to this.
Before evicting a business tenant, a landlord must satisfy a number of specific conditions. This article enumerates a few of the errors that commercial landlords frequently make while evicting a tenant.
The first step in the eviction procedure is to terminate the lease, which can call for the landlord to give notice and give the tenant a chance to make things right. If any wording in the lease specifies that notice must be given or that additional actions must be taken when a tenant defaults on their lease, the landlord should carefully analyze it. For example, additional tenant rights that are not mandated by Washington’s unlawful detainer laws may be included in a lease.
The eviction process may be unnecessarily delayed if the landlord fails to take the actions specified under the lease.
In some business contracts, renters are responsible for paying utilities that are billed to the landlord. If the commercial landlord interrupts the supply of utilities to the property, they may be held responsible for constructive eviction. If a renter vacates the property after being constructively evicted, they are not obligated to pay rent.
Before pursuing an eviction action, the landlord must provide the tenant a 3-day, 10-day, or 20-day notice, depending on the grounds for eviction. The landlord would have to restart the eviction process and properly serve the notice if the correct notice was not given.
An automatic stay is imposed on creditors, including landlords, when a tenant files for bankruptcy. To prosecute an eviction case against the tenant, the landlord may need to follow the necessary steps to obtain relief from the automatic stay. Failure to seek relief from an automatic stay before moving through with eviction may result in fines and additional expenses.
These typical errors and any other issues that can come up throughout the eviction procedure can be avoided with the assistance of an expert attorney.
How Do Landlord Obligations Differ between Tenants?
Private residents have the right to peaceful enjoyment, which entitles them to make any lawful use of the property they choose. The right to privacy in one’s own home is likewise guaranteed to citizens of places like California.
Residential tenants are also entitled to a safe, hygienic, and comfortable living environment. Landlords are responsible for maintaining their properties safe from outside criminal activity and free of physical flaws.
Due to these factors, the renter has the right to “abatement” or withhold rent if the property is uninhabitable.
On the other hand, if it is not specifically stated in the contract, a commercial tenant does not have the right to habitable premises.
Some courts may acknowledge the right to sustainability for commercial renters, but this “right” is not as widely acknowledged as the right to habitation for residential tenants. For instance, the tenant could have to patch a crack in the wall by themselves.
Additionally, a business tenant cannot just quit paying rent. The business must frequently pay current or past due rent to the court’s registrar if it wants to contest the eviction in court owing to a lease violation.
Regardless of the circumstance, you are never permitted to physically remove a renter or their belongings, change the tenant’s locks, or turn off the utilities.
The legal grounds for evicting a renter and detailed procedures are provided below:
- Breach of lease
- Failure to pay rent
- Damage to property
- Committing a crime on the property
- The tenant’s lease is up, but they haven’t left yet.
How to Evict a Tenant Correctly
- Review the eviction laws in your city and state.
- Make sure your justification for eviction is legitimate (listed above)
- Discuss the problem with your tenant to try to find a solution.
- Send a legal Notice of Eviction to your renter
- Go to the court and request an eviction.
- Get a Notice of Hearing informing you and your tenant of your court date
- Attend the hearing
If the court decides in your favor, it will dispatch a sheriff to give the tenant a Writ of Possession (also known as a Writ of Restitution), which instructs them to vacate the property by a specific date. Usually, the renter has eight days to vacate the premises.
How Do Tenant Obligations Differ?
Normal wear and tear on the property is not often the responsibility of residential tenants. On the other hand, commercial tenants can be in charge of doing all property maintenance. There are frequent restrictions on the number of rent increases, the security deposit, late fees, and the number of days needed for a notice to quit when renting residential property. Commercial tenants would not have access to these protections; thus, eviction procedures are made easier.
The division of maintenance and repair duties is one of the key distinctions between commercial and residential leases. These obligations under landlord-tenant laws can differ depending on what the landlord and renter agree upon.
Full-service or gross leaseholders pay a monthly rental fee that covers all costs related to the leased property. On the other hand, net leases demand that the tenant pay maintenance and repair costs directly or repay the landlord as agreed upon in the lease. There are different methods of deciding who is responsible for these costs in the middle of these two extremes.
Consult a lawyer or real estate broker for more details on lease obligations and types.
Look for provisions in your lease that specify who is responsible for these costs:
- Repair and upkeep of public spaces
- Upkeep of various services, including heat, water, elevators, and air conditioning
- Structural improvements to the building’s plumbing, electrical wiring, furniture, and machinery
- Controlling pests, repairing damage from infestations, and taking remedial action
- Regular upkeep and repairs to the property
- Repairs following fires, natural disasters, and other catastrophes
- Expenses such as taxes, insurance, and other obligations are your responsibility.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Commercial or Residential Eviction Issues?
When problems emerge, a knowledgeable landlord/tenant attorney can assist both the tenant and the landlord. You can find the legal rules that govern your landlord-tenant relationship with the assistance of an attorney, who can also assist you in getting a favorable outcome.