Commercial leases generally identify events that constitute a default of the agreement. A violation of the lease typically includes the failure to pay rent, the failure to timely pay rent or the violation of any other explicit clause, such as use restrictions for the commercial property. Upon default, the landlord must follow the specific procedures outlined in statutory law to evict the tenant.
Upon a default of the lease, the landlord should notify the tenant of the intention to pursue eviction proceedings. Notice should be sent through a Demand for Possession letter, which serves as the formal initiation of eviction procedures. The letter essentially informs the tenant that he must vacate the premises and surrender possession to the landlord.
If the tenant fails to comply with the letter, the landlord must then file a Dispossessory Affidavit with the court. The affidavit includes the name of the tenant, the nature of the default, the amount owed to the landlord as a result of the breach and a statement that the tenant has failed to comply with the requests of the Demand for Possession letter. The sheriff then serves the tenant with a summons after the affidavit has been filed. The summons orders the tenant to respond to the allegations within seven business days either personally or through a written statement.
In the event the tenant fails to answer the summons as instructed therein, the court grants the landlord a writ of possession and the tenant is removed from the premises. Alternatively, a trial is held when the tenant appears in court. If the court determines that the landlord should prevail, the tenant must vacate the unit within seven days and compensate the landlord for the default.
If a landlord fails to adhere to these procedures, the tenant may be permitted to continue to occupy the premises. For example, a landlord who accepts partial rental payment may be precluded from later evicting the tenant. Similarly, if the landlord accepts the tenant’s keys before the lease terminates, he may be prohibited from demanding rent payments from the tenant.
The experienced team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C. can help you litigate your real estate claims. Contact Mark Weinstein and his colleagues at (770) 888-7707 or visit them at https://www.markweinsteinlaw.com to find out how they can advise you.