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The Right Way to Handle a Commercial Tenant Eviction

Commercial landlords understandably struggle with the process of tenant eviction. Often, simply mentioning a lapse in rental payment or other contractual obligation feels confrontational. Evicting a commercial tenant can be even more difficult and unpleasant. It is not uncommon for landlords to receive pushback, frustration, and even anger from commercial tenants that face eviction.

However, the good commercial landlords in Long Island recognize the necessity of parting ways with a problem tenant. It might be difficult, but sometimes evicting a tenant is the only economic option. Whether you run a shopping center or single commercial space, how you approach a tenant eviction can make a difference.

Protections for Commercial Tenants in Long Island

Under New York law residential tenants are afforded quite a few protections when it comes to non-payment and eviction. The state doesn’t want landlords erroneously and aggressively taking away a residential tenant’s home. Alternatively, due to the nature of the rental circumstances, commercial tenants receive far fewer protections. Yet, in comparison to most states, New York does give these tenants a number of rights and protection. For instance, requiring the court to provide an eviction order.

As well, keep in mind that New York law respects the right of two parties to contract. Unless the terms of a contract are in question as being unenforceable or invalid, New York will look to the lease agreement for direction on when a commercial tenant eviction is appropriate or allowed. If you are uncertain what your commercial lease says about eviction, then you need to find out. A commercial real estate attorney can help you review the contract.

Know the Grounds for Eviction

The law in New York allows commercial landlords to evict a tenant for specific reasons. These reasons include the non-payment of rent, substantial violation of lease terms (typically as provided in the lease agreement), holding over long after lease expiration, and creating a public nuisance. A landlord should collect evidence and document tenant behavior that violates New York law or the lease terms. This evidence will make it much easier to approach a tenant eviction, if necessary.

Approaching a Commercial Tenant Prior to Eviction

After any breach of the lease, a landlord can and should send a written notice to the tenant. This first communication can be polite, but should remain straightforward and direct. It is important to be clear what action the tenant must take to remedy the breach. While many landlords choose to communicate directly with non-compliant tenants in the beginning, a real estate lawyer can help draft this demand letter.

More than likely, the lease violation is non-payment of rent. Late or non-payment of rent is the most common reason for evicting a commercial tenant in Long Island. The landlord can demand a tenant pay rent within three days. If the lease violation is for circumstances other than non-payment of rent, the landlord should provide reasonable time to remedy the violation.

Unlike processes that happen later in an eviction process, a landlord is allowed to deliver the demand letter directly to a commercial tenant. Alternatively, the written demand can be posted within the rental space in place highly visible to the tenant. It is important to have a paper trail of the demand letter and its delivery. Lawyers will complete a proof of service form that documents that exact day and method a demand letter is served on a tenant.

Filing an Eviction Notice of a Commercial Tenant

Filing for eviction is a secondary recourse against a commercial tenant. A landlord should exhaust other communication and demands before turning to the court. Even if the tenant’s actions in violation of the lease are continuous or egregious, Long Island landlords must handle the eviction process through the courts. The court must issue an eviction order; the sheriff must deliver such order; and the sheriff must execute the order.

It is illegal for a landlord to use self-help, violence, or force to remove a commercial tenant. Even if the court requires an inordinate amount of time to issue the eviction order, a landlord cannot make threats or take action to remove the tenant. Hiring a Long Island lawyer familiar with the eviction process could improve expedience with the court.

Speak with a Long Island Lawyer

The Law Offices of Sami Perez handle all aspects of commercial leasing. Whether you want to negotiate a lease or terminate one, we can help. Our office is conveniently located in Long Island, and we can always be reached at (631)-594-3077. Call today and arrange a conversation about your commercial tenant questions.



The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from The Law Office of Samilde Perez or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.