Commercial tenant rights

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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