Commercial tenant rights

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Commercial tenant rights

My landlord locked me out of my
business with all of my belongings
inside, as well as my customers
belongings too, and is refusing to
let me in. there is only a verbal
lease agreement and I need to know
what I’m supposed to do

Asked on February 13, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Go to your county court and explain to the clerk's office (or customer service office, if it's a large enough court to have a customer service office) what happened. They can give you instructions and forms for bringing a kind of legal action traditionally called one for "unlawful detainer" to get a court order requiring that you be allowed back in. This action can be brought on an expedited basis, to get you back in more quickly. You may also be entitled to compensation for the illegal lockout.
Even with only an oral (that, not verbal, is the correct term for an unwritten lease) the landlord cannot simply lock you out at will: they have to bring an eviction action to lock you out, and can only do so for appropriarte good cause (nonpayment of rent; if it's an oral lease, if they give you a month's notice terminating the tenancy and you still don't leave; damaging the property; etc.), so based on what you write, you have the right to get back into the property.


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