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What to know about evicting a commercial tenant?

Updated October 27th 2022

4 min read

Here's what you need to know and expect about a commercial lease eviction.

What to know about evicting a commercial tenant?

What to know about evicting a commercial tenant?


Trey Salm


Dispute is the easiest & most accurate small claims platform with affordable ways to resolve every dispute.

Overview of a Commerical Lease Eviction:

A commercial lease eviction is when a landlord legally removes a tenant from a property used for business activities. This can include malls, grocery stores, offices, industrial estates, manufacturing shops, and more. This article will outline what you need to know as a landlord when seeking out a commercial lease eviction.

The place to start with any eviction is the lease. Understanding the lease agreement and what it stipulates as reasons for removal can mean the difference between an easy and challenging process. Having an attorney review your lease agreement is always a good practice. Commercial lease agreements define the landlord-tenant relationship for long periods. You will want to ensure you have clearly outlined the tenant's expectations and what can lead to an eviction. Otherwise, it can lead to a prolonged dispute.

When speaking to your attorney about a commercial lease agreement, you may want to bring up the following questions:

  • Is the lease a triple net lease or an all-inclusive lease?

  • Will the tenant be offered the ability to extend or renew the lease? What rate will that be at?

  • Is there a rent escalation clause in the lease?

  • What counts as default? What are the penalties if a default occurs?


Steps to Commercial Lease Eviction:

There are quite a few steps to follow when seeking to evict a commercial tenant or renter. Here is an overview of the process:

  • Review the Forcible Entry and Detainer statute of the state or county where the eviction occurs. These will outline what processes and procedures can be taken by both parties in the case of an eviction.
  • Review the terms of the lease. These dictate what is expected of both the landlord and renter during the agreement.
  • Understand what kind of eviction notice is required in your area. There are different timelines given to the renter depending on your local statutes. 3-day, 7-day, and 30-day eviction notices are the most common.
  • Serve an Eviction Notice to the renter. This is a written document asking the renter to vacate the property. Dispute provides templates to help you generate one quickly. Review your local laws to see how to serve this document legally.
  • Begin Eviction Proceedings by filing a formal eviction at your local courthouse.
  • Prepare for your hearing by making proof of violations done by the tenant (photos, emails, police reports, etc.), copies of your rental agreement, and copies of the served eviction notice to bring to court.
  • Show up to your hearing and present your case. The judge will review the arguments of both sides and decide how to rule. They may also ask both parties to seek out meditation to find a solution.
  • Perform the Eviction if the judge rules in your favor as the landlord. This generally requires involving your local sheriff serving a notice to vacate to the tenant. The sheriff provides them a timeline for the renter to move out, or they are physically removed in what's called a "Sheriff Lockout."

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long will it take to evict my commercial tenant?

  • The timeline for each eviction process tends to vary based on the property's location's local laws and statutes. Generally, it can take as little as 40 and as many as 90 days. Some hurdles may be out of your control, such as a backlog of processing the documents at your local sheriff's office or courthouse. The sooner you start, the faster you can reclaim the property.

Do I need a lease to evict my commercial tenant?

  • Having a lease is essential when trying to protect your interests as a landlord. That said, you may be able to evict without one. As long as notice is provided appropriately and legally, you can begin the process of eviction.

What are the rights of commercial tenants?

  • Commercial tenants have some protections as renters. The terms of your commercial lease agreement will likely have been negotiated to provide some protection to the tenant. These terms are what the court will review when considering the "cause" of the eviction. Your local laws and statutes also protect the tenant. If these are not followed, your local court may delay or dismiss your eviction request.

If you have more questions or need assistance with your eviction process, Dispute is here to help.

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