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What Can The Landlord Do If The Tenant Breaks The Lease?

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Most leases give a lot of powers and options to the landlord if the tenant breaks the lease. These might be some of the remedies available to the landlord:

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The landlord may have a bailiff enter your premises and seize some or all of the tenant's assets which are on the premises to pay for rent or other amounts of money owing by the tenant. If the tenant doesn't pay up, the bailiff may sell those assets, and charge its fees as well. The lease is still in force during and after the distress seizure and sale is taking place.

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The landlord could sue you for all amounts owing under the lease. This might include unpaid rent, utility costs, taxes, the landlord's lawyer costs of suing you, and interest. Again, the landlord can sue the tenant while the lease is still in force.

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Re-entry as agent of tenant

This is where the landlord wants to have your cake and eat it too. The landlord takes the position that the tenant is still liable for rent for the full term of the lease, but in order to limit the tenant's (and landlord's) losses, the landlord takes over the premises and rents them to another tenant, and applies the rent received to the old lease. It can deduct its costs of re-renting the premises from the rent received.

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Termination and re-entry

The landlord may want to terminate the lease if it thinks it can rent it out to a better tenant or on better terms. It will normally do this by changing the locks on the premises. If the landlord terminates the lease, the tenant is relieved of future obligations for the balance of the original lease, although many leases contain a provision which allows the landlord to sue for 3 months rent if they terminate the lease.

The tenant can often apply to the court for "relief from forfeiture" of the lease if it immediately makes good on the amounts owed.

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Legal disclaimer:  The information provided on Lawyers-B.C..Com is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered. Your access to and use of this Web site is subject to additional terms and conditions.

This page last updated: November 20, 1999
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