Commercial leases demand a lot more than residential leases do from landlords. It is common for landlords to provide facilities ranging from parking lots and bathrooms to security services for their tenants.
As a landlord leasing commercial properties, you may seek to protect yourself by including certain restrictions in the leases that you sign with tenants. For example, you might restrict their activities to certain industries or certain times of the day. You might impose a limit on how much traffic can come on and off the property, how much waste they can put in the dumpsters or how many employees they can have.
Unfortunately, tenants sometimes feel like they can do whatever they want as long as they pay rent on time. What are your options when your tenant has clearly violated the restrictions in your lease?
Notify them of the breach
The first step before you can try to enforce a lease is to notify the tenant of the issue. They may have overlooked something or you may have misinterpreted the situation. Giving them notice provides an opportunity for them to correct the issue.
If they do not do so in a timely manner, you may then need to move forward with enforcement. Typically, landlords will take one of two approaches when attempting to enforce a restriction in a lease.
Assess and collect fees
One of the easiest ways to push a tenant into compliance is to hit them in the pocketbook. If there are financial consequences written into your lease for obvious breaches, you can notify your tenant and send them an invoice.
You may be able to continue assessing those fees on a daily or weekly basis until your tenant corrects the issue. If they don’t pay you in a timely manner, you may be able to retain some of their security deposit at the end of the lease.
Pursue an eviction
You may not want to continue renting your property to a tenant who doesn’t respect the terms of your contract. If the violation of the lease is significant enough and the tenant either will not address it or will not take responsibility for the consequences of the breach, then you may need to initiate eviction proceedings.
Removing a tenant from your property can be expensive in the short term, but it will protect you from the costs of renting to a non-compliant tenant, which could prove substantial depending on the circumstances. Knowing your rights as a commercial landlord will make it easier for you to take action when dealing with a problematic tenant.