What are a commercial tenat’s eviction rights?

UPDATED: Aug 23, 2011

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What are a commercial tenat’s eviction rights?

We were evicted out of the building due to non-payment. The locks were changed and the landlord said he will sell our equipments to pay rent dues.The landlord evicted us and changed the lock to the building. We want to get out merchandise and equipment out of the building. The landlord says they can sell our stuff to repay the rent that was due. I want to set up a payment arrangement to pay off the rent so I can get my stuff out before it get sold. What can I do?

Asked on August 23, 2011 California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can, and should sue the landlord for illegal eviction; for tortious interference with your business; and possibly for some form of theft (detaining your property). The landlord had *no * right to lock you out, to start with--if you did not pay rent, you may be evicted, but only through the courts. Landlords can't just change the locks. Second, even after you are properly evicted, the landlord has *no* right to sell your belongings for the back due rent, unless (1) you have him a security interest in them (e.g. used the inventory, equipment, etc. as collateral to guaranty the rent) or (2) agree now to let him to that to settle the debt. You should be able  to recover economic damages from the landlord, prevent the sale of your goods, and get back into the space, at least temporarily (unless you can pay the rent though, he'll  be able to go to court and get you out the proper way in the near future). You should consult with an attorney right away.

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