Can a landlord lock you out of your small business without notice for being 1/2 month behind in your rent?

UPDATED: Nov 22, 2011

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Can a landlord lock you out of your small business without notice for being 1/2 month behind in your rent?

I own a small business and have been ill for some time now. I got behind a half a month in my rent. My shop is in a flea market. I spoke to the owner the day before I found chains on my doors. She never said any thing about doing that. Now she says she is selling everything in my shop for what’s owed which is $200 and she added another $150 to it. Now all my records and everything I own is in there. We have no rental agreement of any kind. Can she do this?

Asked on November 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Although you have no written lease agreement, you and the landlord apparently have an oral lease agreement for a monthly rent to be paid by you for the spot you occupy.

If your landlord used self help against you for unpaid rent by locking you out of your business and taking your possessions to pay for owed rent, what was done was clearly improper and you have the basis for a lawsuit against the landord for the damages you have suffered as well as a possible statutory penalty. I suggest that you consult with a landlord tenant attorney as to the best way to try and resolve this dispute with your landlord.


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