Commercial Evictions – When Your Tenant is Behind in Rent

As COVID continues to wreak havoc with our personal lives and our work lives, many businesses are suffering and are unable to pay the rent.  When this occurs, landlords have a choice to make.  Will they evict the tenant or will they work something out with the tenant and hope that sunnier days are ahead for both the tenant and the larger world?  For landlords, this should be a business decision based on a number of factors.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Was the tenant a good one prior to the pandemic or was it often behind on rent, damaging the property or causing other problems?
  • How much time is left on the lease?  Would it make sense to forgive some rent now and re-coup it with a longer lease at a higher rental rate?
  • What is the landlord’s financial position?
  • If you evict this tenant, how likely will you be to fill the space with another tenant?
  • What does this tenant bring to your building?  Does this tenant operate a business which, at least in the past, brought customers to your other tenants?
  • Will the tenant’s business survive the pandemic and what will its recover look like?

If the landlord decides to end the relationship, then it should review the lease carefully to determine what steps must be taken to terminate the lease.  If the tenant does not leave after whatever required notices have been sent, then you’ll need to start a summary process action.  In Massachusetts, depending on the Court, commercial evictions are still moving fairly quickly, so you might not have to wait too long before you can recover possession.