LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK
Evicting Commercial Tenants in New York
Evicting a commercial tenant in Nassau County or Suffolk County is never a pleasant experience. Commercial landlords face the difficult task of evicting tenants who fail to pay their rent on time, or who in other ways violate their lease agreement.
In the state of New York, commercial evictions are handled similarly to residential evictions. And much like a residential eviction, commercial landlords must follow the requirements set by law to evict their tenant.
Generally, the procedure to evict a commercial tenant in New York is to first provide the commercial tenant with the prerequisite notices required by their lease agreement and the predicate notices required by law. Then upon the expiration of the notice term, the commercial landlord can then initiate an eviction proceeding in district court, similar to a residential nonpayment proceeding or holdover proceeding.
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Commercial Tenant Evictions Based Upon a Violation of the Lease
Commercial leases are usually more complicated than residential leases, and it’s easy for a tenant to find themselves in violation of their lease. While the most common lease violation is the failure of the commercial tenant to pay rent, other violations of the lease may occur as well, such as failing to maintain the property in accordance with the requirements in the commercial lease, or failing to comply with any town or building Code requirements.
Both commercial landlords and tenants negotiate specific terms which must be followed during the commercial eviction process. Not only the payment of rent, but the obligations of the parties if there is a default. Often, there is a “notice to cure” section in the commercial lease agreement that will dictate the party’s rights and responsibilities when a lease violation occurs.
If you feel your commercial tenant is “breaking the lease,” you should first look to the terms in your commercial lease and find out what your obligations are as the landlord under the lease. If you’re not sure, you can give us a call and we’ll give you a free consultation.
Commercial Evictions Based Upon a Non-Violation of the Lease
It may be possible to evict your commercial tenant even if they pay their rent on time and otherwise abide by the lease. Certain types of behaviors might not always be expressly prohibited in a lease, but they could be severe enough to warrant an eviction. This is especially true when the commercial tenant becomes a nuisance to other tenants.
Typically nuisance-based behaviors such as harassing behavior, loud music, improper sanitation, and criminal acts may allow you to evict your commercial tenant even if they pay the rent on time. But it is much more difficult. You should speak with a commercial eviction lawyer about your situation so you can learn the options available to you.
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Common Questions About Evicting a
Commercial Tenant in New York
What if my tenant abandons the property?
Sometimes when a tenant falls behind on the rent and they know they can’t come up with the money, they’ll pack up and leave on their own. Sometimes they even leave their personal or business property behind. When this happens, you most likely will not have to go through the commercial eviction process. You will most likely have to remove and store for a certain period of time to give the commercial tenant time to reclaim his or her property after notice by certified mail. You may then retake and relet the commercial premises.
What if my commercial tenant files for bankruptcy?
If a commercial landlord receives notice that their commercial tenant has filed for bankruptcy after the landlord sends the tenant a notice to quit or pay rent, the commercial eviction action is automatically stayed pursuant to Federal Bankruptcy law. The landlord can file a motion in Bankruptcy Court asking the court for relief from the automatic stay. If the judge grants the motion, the commercial eviction can continue, but the court will only allow you to get a Judgment for Possession of the property. In general, the court will not allow you to get a money judgment or collect money from a commercial tenant in bankruptcy unless the bankruptcy court approves it.
I failed to make repairs that I said I would. Can my commercial tenant withhold the rent until I make the repairs?
It depends on the lease, but generally not. Generally, the lease agreement will require the tenant to pay the rent on time independent of all other obligations. The tenant has other legal remedies available if you fail to make the necessary repairs, but withholding the rent is generally not one of them. If they do withhold the rent, you may bring a commercial eviction proceeding against them for failure to pay.
Common Mistakes Made by Commercial Landlords When Evicting Tenants
Commercial landlords have a lot of issues to deal with when it comes to managing their properties. One of the most unpleasant tasks they may have to undertake is evicting a tenant. However, even with the best intentions, landlords can make mistakes during the eviction process that can lead to legal trouble and financial losses. Here’s the top three mistakes commercial landlords make when evicting tenants and how to avoid them.
Failing to Provide the Right Notices
The biggest mistake commercial landlords make when evicting their tenants is failing to serve the proper predicate notices properly. Commerical tenants generally receive different notices than residential tenants. Sometimes attorneys who dabble in landlord tenant law take on a commercial eviction proceeding, and they serve the incorrect notices. This leads to the dismissal of your commercial eviction case.
There are strict legal requirements that must be followed with all commercial evictions, and every mistake can cost you thousands of dollars in missed revenue. This is why it’s so important to have an experienced commercial evictions lawyer on your side.
Failing to Follow the Terms in the Commercial Lease
You had your commercial tenant sign a lease when they moved in. Often commercial landlords make the mistake of trying to evict their commercial tenant without referring to the terms and requirements in their lease. If you fail to abide by one of the requirements in the lease during the commercial eviction process, your case could be thrown out, and you’ll have to start all over again.
Shutting Off Utilities
Another common mistake landlords make during the commercial evictions process is trying to take matters into their own hands by changing locks or shutting off utilities. Not only does it jeopardize your eviction proceeding, but it can also lead to lawsuits with a judgment for damages against you. But unlike with residential evictions, it cannot lead to an arrest and generally does not provide a defense for the commercial tenant to eviction. The rules for commercial evictions, while similar to those for residential evictions, differ slightly – usually in favor of the commercial landlord.
What is Considered a Commercial Property?
A commercial property is any real property that is not zoned for residential use only and does not contain dwellings. This definition covers stores, warehouses, and lots including parking lots.
Evicting a commercial tenant can be an expensive and time-consuming process if you have the wrong representation. A knowledgeable and experienced commercial eviction lawyer can help to keep the unpleasantness to a short minimum. If you’re a landlord that has a commercial tenant that stopped paying rent, give us a call right now, and let’s talk about your options, the costs, and the process.
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