Can a landlord can evict a commercial tenant for non-payment of rent if there is no lease agreement?

UPDATED: Oct 21, 2012

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Can a landlord can evict a commercial tenant for non-payment of rent if there is no lease agreement?

Also, can this landlord change the locks and withhold the tenants belongings while they are trying to move out of said property?

Asked on October 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) There is always a lease agreement: if there is no written agreement, there is an oral (sometimes called verbal) lease.

2) A tenant may always be evicted for not paying the agreed-upon rent.

3) The landlord may not simply change the locks unless the tenant has surrendered (or given up) possession; otherwise, evictions must be through the courts.

4) The landlord may not withhold the tenant's belongings unless the tenant gave the landlord a security interest in those belongings (used them as collateral for rent obligations).

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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