Can property management lock us out without a signed lease or without notice?

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Can property management lock us out without a signed lease or without notice?

We have been allowed to run business in a previously abandoned space for 6 months. While we do not have a signed lease or verbal agreement on rent, the property manager has taken payments from us. He is now threatening to lock us out and is not offering us a lease. We have been waiting to be presented with a lease to agree upon and sign for the past few months. When we took over the space we were told that we could “work out the lease details later”. It seems somewhat unlawful or immoral for them to lock us out without the courtesy of reasonable time. Can they do this? What recourse do we have?

Asked on February 24, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You do have a lease.  It is a verbal month to month lease and you do have rights.  The landlord must give you at least 30 days notice to vacate if you can establish a month to month lease.  How often do you pay rent?  Monthly?  Every two months?  Do you have receipts to establish your leasehold?  Oral notice to vacate a premises is generally not enuf for a Judge in Court.  Each state has their own procedures and the courts are strict about them. He can not change the locks without an order of eviction.  I think that you will need to seek help from an attorney to send a letter on your behalf to establish the tenancy and to ask about the leasehold.  This way you will have some clout when you go to court which is where this is headed.  Good luck. 


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