Remedies for Breach of a Commercial Lease

Commercial leases vary from residential leases.  Commercial leases deal with business properties being leased to business owners.  The breach of a commercial lease is different than the breach of residential one and will have its own peculiar set of remedies. Certain remedies will be spelled out specifically in the lease documents itself and others will exist as a matter of law.  Breach of a commercial lease could result from a tenant’s non-payment of rent, failure to comply with the non-financial terms of the lease, or for failure to maintain a steady stream of business- i.e. open and running. 

Various Remedies Available

There are numerous remedies available when a tenant breaches a commercial lease.  The first is a right to recover rent. In this case the lessor (individual that owns the building and is leasing it) can sue the lessee (individual or business that signs the lease) for failure to pay rent.  He can recover the rental amount plus any expenses incurred in order to secure the judgment. 

Other remedies available may include taking possession of the premises, with or without a legal proceeding and removing and disposing of the tenants’ property.  A landlord can also turn off necessary utilities that would render the business owner incapable of conducting business.  Any adequate commercial lease will have a clause that addresses liquidated damages.  This is a pre-set amount of damages that the parties agree to in the lease in the event that the lessor breaches the list. 

When a landlord evicts the person that defaults under the commercial lease, they will be under a duty to ensure that their damages aren’t’ higher than need be, also known as mitigation of damages.  This means that the landlord would be responsible for attempting to rent the space to a new tenant.  However the prior tenant could be held responsible for damages associated with the breach.  This could include rent for the period of time that it takes the landlord to find a new tenant. 

Seeking Legal Advice

If you are a commercial building owner and you have a tenant that breaches his or her lease, your best option is to get in contact with an attorney.  Only a licensed attorney in your area can provide you with legal guidance you need to ensure that you are within your legal rights and to protect your interests.

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