What tenants should know about Commercial and Residential Real Estate Evictions

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What tenants should know about Commercial and Residential Real Estate Evictions

Renting a property whether for commercial or residential purposes is a very useful option to exercise; especially by those who cannot or do not want to invest a large sum of money in buying it. However though this lets one get easier and cheaper access to property one does not obtain perpetual ownership rights and could be asked to vacate or evict under certain conditions.

It is therefore important for tenants of both types of property to know about the conditions that can bring about an eviction. These can vary based upon the type of property and the location, as different states can have varying regulations and laws on this. In the main however evictions can be carried out because of factors like default in payment of rent, damage to property and violation of lease terms.

Howsoever unpleasant these may be, evictions unfortunately are a fact of life that both owners and tenants alike must be ready to deal with. The sheer volume of eviction cases that are being adjudicated in courts across the country on a daily basis is phenomenal. Therefore in order for one to have one’s case decided expeditiously, one may need to engage the services of a knowledgeable attorney well versed in the relevant practices and procedures. This is particularly true in the case of commercial properties because the stakes are usually much higher there.

From a tenant’s perspective it is important to be aware of one’s right of defense against evictions. In Chicago for instance a “defendant may under a general denial of the allegations of the complaint offer in evidence any matter in defense of the action,” under 735 ILCS 5/9-106. The defense has to be put up via personal testimony in court rather through a formal file answer. Furthermore for the defense to be admissible, it has to be “germane” vis-à-vis the matter of possession or in other words genuine in terms of the validity of possession.

Now the defense could be mainly pertaining to the paramountcy of the right of possession, denial of breach of the agreement that vests the possession in the landlord, challenge to the validity of the agreement allowing the landlord possession and questioning the motivation of the landlord in trying to bring about an eviction. Defense such as the above are usually better put up in the case of residential properties than commercial

New York however provides a lot of leeway to even commercial tenant to put up a stout defense against eviction. Tenants could take recourse to the following lines of defense-
(i) Questioning the suitability of property in question for renting out to a commercial establishment.
(ii) Landlord deliberately interfering with minimally mandated building services.
(iii) Landlord ‘Committing Waste’ or neglecting a property to the point of decay.
(iv) Inability of the landlord to provide essential services.
(v) Too short a notice.

Thus we see that while the specter of eviction is the bane of rented property, one can take certain take certain preventive measures to safeguard one’s interests.

Summary: While renting a commercial or property is always a useful option, there is always the chance that the landlord may initiate an eviction in certain circumstances. Though laws may vary at different locations, tenants can forestall this by taking certain legal preventive measures.

Twitter Summary: Both residential and commercial property tenants can be asked to evict by their landlords. They can however lawfully forestall that under certain circumstances.


  • http://www.thslawfirm.com/practice-areas/residential-commercial-evictions
  • http://www.mbelmanlaw.com/real-estate.html
  • http://paulporvaznik.com/tenant-defenses-to-eviction-illinois-law-and-city-of-chicago/400
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