Area of Law: Landlord and Tenant
Answer # 449
Eviction of commercial tenantsRegion: Ontario Answer # 449
Most commercial leases state the reasons why and how a landlord can evict a commercial tenant. In almost all leases, a landlord is entitled to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent or for a material breach of the terms of the lease.
Eviction for non-payment of rent
If a tenant fails to pay rent, a landlord has two options under the Commercial Tenancies Act. First, the landlord is entitled to “re-enter” the premises, which usually includes changing the locks and preventing the tenant from using the premises any longer. To change the locks, the landlord is required to wait 16 days after the rent was due.
Second, the landlord can re-enter the premises, without notice, to seize and sell the tenant’s property. Before selling the tenant’s property, the landlord must give the tenant five days’ notice.
Unless the lease requires the landlord to give the tenant notice, the landlord may be able to terminate the lease and evict the tenant if the tenant does not pay the rent on time.
Eviction for a material breach of the lease
A commercial lease may also contain other obligations that the tenant is responsible for. If the tenant does not perform such obligations, or conversely, does something that is strictly prohibited in the lease, the landlord may be able to terminate the tenancy and take over the premises but must do so in compliance with the Commercial Tenancies Act.
It is not always clear whether the lease has been breached. In some cases the landlord may apply to a court to have a judge decide if the tenant has breached the lease, and if so, to have the lease terminated. If a landlord applies to court, the tenant will be given the opportunity to appear at trial to argue their side.
For additional information on commercial tenancies, visit the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
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If you are a commercial tenant and your landlord wants to evict you or take you to court, you should consult a lawyer.
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