What to Do When a Commercial Tenant is Behind on Their Lease

Apartment building

If you own property and have it rented or leased out to another entity, life can be very simple for you as a landlord. You are almost guaranteed that you can collect a set amount each month for the lease of your property. This is true, especially for commercial property.

However, what if you have a tenant that is behind on their payments? The worst thing any landlord could experience is to have a tenant who is several months behind and not showing signs of paying soon. This could lead to a lease forfeiture on your commercial property.

What should a landlord do in these situations?

Assess the Situation First

Before you make any rash decisions, assess the situation with a level head. Check first if you can discuss or negotiate the lease problem. Tenants are more than willing to pay but certain circumstances have made it difficult for them.

Find out the true reason they are behind on payments and see if you can come to an amicable arrangement. Suggest a payment scheme that can help your tenant continue on with their lease with you.

Remember, always go the diplomatic route first as this can yield results right away.

Try to understand your tenant’s situation and find an arrangement that works for both of you. However, if your tenant is uncooperative and they are already several months behind, then perhaps it’s time to consider an actual forfeiture of the lease so that you can lend the space to another party and get back some of what your former tenant owes you in arrears.

Send a Certificated Bailiff

When your tenant has refused to make any payments and has not responded to your requests, maybe it’s time to endorse the debt to a company that offers debt enforcement. It is never advisable to confront your tenant directly as it can have legal ramifications.

Instead, contract the services of a company that offers debt enforcement. That company can then send certificated bailiffs that can distress a levy against the tenant that has not made a payment. Certificated bailiffs have the authority to lock out a tenant from the commercial space in dispute.

The tenant will then be given several days to settle the matter or else the bailiff will be allowed to repossess items that are inside the commercial property and sell those items to pay for the rent in arrears. This way, you can recover some of the losses incurred from the unpaid lease.

So remember, assess your situation first and look for a peaceable agreement. If this does not work, start the process of lease forfeiture to help you recover your losses.