Both lessor and lessee can be negatively impacted by a poor commercial lease situation. These situations may in one way or another necessitate the eviction of the lessee, and it’s important for members of both parties to be aware of the legal process that must be followed.
Landlords have a statutory right to lockout tenants who are not paying rent, provided they also give written notice of where the tenant may obtain a new key upon paying back any rent owed. If this written notice is not given, the tenant may seek damages for wrongful lockout. In this case, tenants may be able to regain use of the premises via a writ of reentry.
Filing Forcible Detainer
If a tenant lockout is not successful or a tenant obtains a writ of reentry, a landlord may pursue legal action against the tenant. The landlord may not take action independent of the law to remove a non-paying tenant from the premises—they must go through the proper channels. A forcible detainer motion must be filed to evict commercial tenants.
The first step of the process is to give the tenant at least three days’ notice to vacate the property. If the lease contract specifies a different period of time, that is the standard that must be used instead. Also, if there is no provision in the lease for the recovery of attorneys’ fees, notice must be given at least 11 days in advance of filing the eviction suit in order to recover those fees.
The tenant will be served with a citation to appear in court between six and ten days of the eviction date. If the landlord prevails at the hearing or the tenant fails to appear, a writ of possession is executed. The tenant will have at least 24 hours to leave, but cannot remain on the premises any time later than the date indicated on the writ.
There are various stages where the process may become complicated, especially if the lease contract specifies terms that depart from those set forth under Texas law or in cases where the landlord may be in breach of contract. The assistance of a commercial real estate attorney is a necessity when it comes to prevailing in a lease eviction lawsuit. The attorneys at Bennett, Weston, LaJone & Turner, P.C., can be of invaluable assistance in commercial real estate and business litigation matters.