can I lock the doors of a tenant who is paying a partial rent monthly. This has been going on for 2 years.

In Property Management - Asked by Sam L. - Feb 8, 2011
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Answer(s)

Rob B.
Chandler, AZ

Sam... You absolutely should not take this type of action without the advice of a competent eviction attorney. You should follow all the required steps for a commercial evection. The attorney will submit all the appropriate legal forms. If it had been me, I would not have accepted the partial payment without some written agreement with the tenant and an amendment to the lease. In other words, I may have agreed to allow a partial payment for some short period of time, with the proviso that the shortened payment balance would be recovered through an amortization period following the end of the allowed partial payment time. Certainly, two years is too long to let partial payments continue. Good luck Sam.... Rob Baird, CA RE License #544165 (One of the oldest, active licenses in CA) 951 515-5855 Email: rob@capratecommercial.com

Feb 8, 2011
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William C.
Broker/Agent
Pasadena, CA

Hi Sam,
I agree with Rob. Don't change the door locks, don't take any more partial payments, and get an eviction attorney to begin the process of evicting this person ASAP.
Bill Clark

Feb 8, 2011
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Travis H.
Owner/Investor
Charlotte, NC

I would not touch the door locks, I have spoke with the tenant and paid them to leave in the past, if this doesn't work I would not take any partial anything. Hire an attorney ASAP that will evict the person or persons on you or your companies behalf.

Feb 8, 2011
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Scott B.
Broker/Agent
Indianapolis, IN

This is all good advice above. I'm not sure what the health of your commercial market is there, so I would just caution you to think hard about evicting anyone who is paying any amount of rent. If you are in a robust market, and you feel that you can back-fill the space right away, then yes, you should seek the advice of a good eviction attorney and proceed (as long as that cost won't exceed the expected gain). If the market is not that robust, then maybe try to renegotiate with them. Tenants in our market are hard to find these days. Something else to consider is your building insurance. If evicting this tenant creates vacancy that is in excess of the allowable vacancy in your commercial insurance liability policy, then be prepared for a major increase in insurance premium costs. In some cases, that cost can exceed the loss from non-payment of rent. Just some things to consider as you make this economic decision Sam.

Feb 8, 2011
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Jim T.
Owner/Investor
Abilene, TX

This is very hard to answer as the law is different in every state and different between residential and commercial. The best thing you can do is to ask your attorney what you are able to do and how long you have to give notice.
That said, in Texas, for commercial leases, all that is necessary is to change the lock and leave a notice on the door stating where they can get a copy of the new key and between what hours, and you do not have to let them in until they are paid in full. You do not have to evict a tenant, because then you usually won't get any money and will spend more money on lawyers.
So, talk to your lawyer, talk to your tenant.

Feb 9, 2011
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Jean B.
Owner/Investor
Beaumont, TX

You need to check with an Attorney there are different laws in different States.
In the State I live in Texas, You can change the locks but must give him a new key within two hours of his asking for one. This is good if he won't contact you.
Another option in Texas is to give him a three day notice to Vacate and then file an Eviction for Rent in the Justice of the Peace Court. The notice must either be handed to him or Placed on the inside of the front and back doors, it is best to have a witness to do this or hire the local Constable to serve it

Feb 9, 2011
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Chris R.
Broker/Agent
Denton, TX

1st - Residence or Commercial? 2nd - know the laws of your state. 3rd - review the terms of your lease. 4th - if unclear on 1, 2, 3 - contact a real estate attorney for assistance. In Texas - commercial - depending on the language of the lease - you can in many cases change the locks on the door and you do NOT have to allow the tenant back in unless they have paid - in full or come to terms with the landlord / management company. If residential - in Texas - you CAN change the locks - but - you do have to provide the tenant with a key and make it available 24 / 7. What you gain is a forced confrontation with the tenant to where you can have a discussion. And - if it has been going on for 2 years - ....... the definition of insanity is continuing to do that which you have been doing and expecting different results. The time has come to take steps in your state to evict this tenant and get someone in there who is more respectful of their obligations.

Apr 8, 2011
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