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Evictions under Commercial Leases

By Frank Di Iorio

It is rare that a Tenant observes all its obligations under a Lease as and when required by the Lease.
Often a Landlord wants to evict the Tenant.
A Landlord evicting a Tenant under a Lease must do so lawfully. Failure to do so means the Landlord and/or its agents may be liable for:-
•Conversion
•Trespass
•Assault
•Breach of the obligation to provide the Tenant with quiet enjoyment of the premises
•Common Law damages for repudiation of the Lease

In order for a Landlord to lawfully re-enter the property one of the following must be satisfied:-
1.The Lease includes a term the breach of which triggers a right of re-entry or termination of the Lease; or
2.The breach must be of a fundamental term of the Lease; or
3.The Tenant has repudiated the Lease by its conduct.

A Landlord can re-enter its property either by:-
(a) Attending the property and either taking or demanding possession;
(b) Suing for possession.
Any notice served on a Tenant must contain the correct wording and be served according to law failing which the re-entry is unlawful.

A Tenant seeking to stop a wrongful eviction can seek an injunction or relief against forfeiture or make a claim for compensation.

Some Landlords re-enter by changing the locks when the Tenant is not in the premises. This action is not necessary as an actual re-entry is effected by making an unequivocal demand for possession at the premises.
In difficult economic times, there may be more breaches of Leases and an increase in evictions is likely to occur.

We can assist either Landlords or Tenants in these matters.