Commercial Landlord/Tenant Disputes
Commercial landlord/tenant disputes can be tricky, especially when both parties don’t understand the laws governing their relationship. Let’s take a look at the basics of landlord and tenancy laws in Virginia.
Landlords responsibilities include the following:
- The landlord is responsible for gas, fire and electrical safety
- Managing asbestos and protecting workers from asbestos exposure
- General maintenance and repairs
- Minimum energy efficiency standards
- Maintaining property insurance
CARES Act on Commercial Leases
The CARES Act does not address commercial leases and there is no federal COVID guidance on commercial leases. However, Virginia COVID regulations prohibited a commercial landlord from evicting a tenant during the declared emergency.
Rules Regarding the Payment of Rent
Landlords are required to inform the tenant (in the lease) of the amount of rent, any late payment fees, notice for an increase in rent, and any fees related to bounced checks. Virginia law doesn’t stipulate rules about late payment, so a landlord can only impose a late fee if that is indicated in the lease.
Virginia law allows for evictions through court and self-help as long as the eviction doesn’t incite a breach of peace. However, if a landlord doesn’t go through a judicial process for eviction they could be liable for unlawful seizure of the tenant’s property.
UCC Security Interest and Eviction
If the lease creates a UCC interest in the tenant’s property as collateral it may be possible to repossess and dispose of the property without involving a court order.
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