Commercial tenants are like residential tenants – not all of them will comply with the terms of their rental contract. And while not everyone will be rule-breakers, a handful won’t abide by the rules. For that reason, you need to understand how to evict tenants from your commercial property in the event that they fail to follow their rental contract. When you understand how, you’ll be able to evict tenants while abiding by the law.
In this post, you’ll find a breakdown of the steps it takes to remove a tenant from your real estate investment. Keep on reading to find out what you need to do in the event of a violation:
What Is a Commercial Lease Agreement?
A commercial lease agreement is similar to a regular lease agreement. It outlines what the tenant can and can’t do with their commercial space, states when rent is due and how it is collected, and specifies the penalties for the non-payment of rent and other violations. It also briefly describes the role of the landlord’s commercial property management company, if any. Every tenant who signs the lease agreement is obligated by law to follow everything written in it.
Can Landlords Evict Commercial Tenants?
Yes, landlords can (and should) evict commercial tenants that commit violations. It should be noted that the rules on commercial tenant eviction vary by state, so it’s best to brush up on the law. You can also partner with a property management company with its own in-house team of commercial real estate lawyers.
What Are the Common Reasons For Evicting a Commercial Tenant?
There are several reasons why you may want to remove a tenant from your commercial real estate investment, such as:
- Non-payment of Rent. You can evict a tenant if they fail to pay their rent on time, and if they continue to pay their rent late even when you’ve warned them not to. Remember, when a tenant fails to pay their rent, your business will be the one that suffers.
- Holdover Tenants. These are tenants that continue to stay in the commercial space even if they’re no longer considered tenants (i.e. they haven’t signed a lease agreement).
- Criminal Activity. In rare cases, a commercial tenant may use the commercial space to conduct criminal activities. Note that if you’re found to know about this but you allowed it to happen on your property anyway, you will be persecuted.
- Failure to Maintain the Property. Commercial tenants are not exempt from property maintenance. They are expected to maintain the property to a certain extent.
- Violation of the Lease Agreement. In general, whenever a commercial tenant fails to comply with any part of their lease agreement, they can be evicted.
These are only a couple of the common reasons why you may want to evict a commercial tenant. If you’re not sure whether or not your tenant has committed a violation, you can consult a property management firm that specializes in commercial properties.
How Can Landlords Evict Commercial Tenants?
Below, you’ll find the step-by-step guide on how to evict a tenant from your South Florida commercial property, whether it’s a shopping mall, multi-unit building, or another type of property. Do note that the steps may not be the same in your state, so it’s best to review the law, otherwise, your tenant may turn the tables on you.
Step 1. Provide the Tenant With an Eviction Notice
The eviction notice tells the tenant that they’ve committed a violation. This is because it’s very possible that the tenant doesn’t know that they’ve violated the terms. In addition, it outlines what the tenant is supposed to do and when they’re supposed to do it if they don’t want to be removed from the property. You may have to serve the eviction notice in person or provide proof that it was received.
Step 2. Wait For the Tenant to Respond
Your tenant should reply to your notice within a specific time frame. By this time, they should already have done what you told them to do. For instance, if you informed them of their non-payment of rent, then their reply should state that they already settled their dues. In short, they should have already resolved their violation.
Step 3. File a Petition With the Court
If the tenant fails to resolve their violation, you can officially file for eviction. You will need to file it with the court, so it can be beneficial to work with a commercial real estate lawyer, as they will be familiar with the steps.
Step 4. Serve the Eviction Papers to the Tenant
Part of the court’s process is to serve the papers to the tenant in person. Depending on state laws, this will either be done by local law enforcement or by process servers. It’s unlikely that you will be allowed to serve it to the tenant yourself.
Step 5. Go to Court
Once the court receives a reply from the commercial tenant, they will set a schedule for the court hearing. During the court hearing, you’ll need to prove to the court that the tenant truly did violate their rental contract. If the court rules in favor of you, they may order the tenant to resolve their violation (e.g. pay their unpaid rent), pay court fees, as well as formally evict them.
Step 6. File a Writ of Possession
The writ of possession allows you to take possession of your property. If the tenant refuses to vacate their commercial space, you can seek assistance from local law enforcement.
Want to Prevent Commercial Evictions?
Commercial evictions can be time-consuming and costly. To prevent it, partner with an expert property management company such as Luxury Property Care. We’ll ensure that you rent only to responsible tenants who’ll pay their rent on time, abide by the terms of their rental contract, and more. That way, you won’t have to worry about tenant turnover, vacant commercial spaces, and evictions. And in case a tenant does need to be evicted, you can benefit from our team of commercial real estate lawyers who’ll help you resolve the issue in no time.