Can a landlord can evict a commercial tenant for non-payment of rent if there is no lease agreement?

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Can a landlord can evict a commercial tenant for non-payment of rent if there is no lease agreement?

Also, can this landlord change the locks and withhold the tenants belongings while they are trying to move out of said property?

Asked on October 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) There is always a lease agreement: if there is no written agreement, there is an oral (sometimes called verbal) lease.

2) A tenant may always be evicted for not paying the agreed-upon rent.

3) The landlord may not simply change the locks unless the tenant has surrendered (or given up) possession; otherwise, evictions must be through the courts.

4) The landlord may not withhold the tenant's belongings unless the tenant gave the landlord a security interest in those belongings (used them as collateral for rent obligations).


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