Can I be evicted for opening a competing business that the landlord knew about?

Asked over 1 year ago - Los Angeles, CA

I am a small business owner. I opened my business a couple of months ago. The landlord is saying that one of the other businesses in the shopping center complained that my business is similar to his. The landlord is now threatening to evict me. The landlord knew exactly what business I was opening prior to signing the lease. Can he do this? What can I do? I already invested a lot in setting up the business.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Malosack Berjis

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . First of all, it's difficult to give you an answer without seeing the lease first. But, generally speaking, I don't believe that your landlord can evict you, especially if he knew exactly the type of business that you were intending to open at the time the lease was signed. (Does the lease state what you were going to use the space for?) But, again, it all depends on the contents of the lease. As for what you can do, I'd suggest that you retain a local landlord/tenant attorney to look over the lease and deal with the landlord from there.

  2. Frank Wei-Hong Chen

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You don't indicate the type or nature of your business. An attorney would need to have substantially more information (including reviewing your commercial lease) to be able to advise you of your rights and options.

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is... more
  3. Brad S Kane

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If the lease restricts you from operating your specific type of business, then the landlord may have the ability to evict you. Similarly, if your type of business could be considered a nuisance, then the landlord might be able to evict you.

    Further, Commercial leases often state the type of intended use and if you are using the property for a different type of use, it may jeopardize your lease. Further, the lease may have a provision preventing you from competing with existing tenants. Without reading the lease as a whole and knowing the types of businesses involved, it is impossible to give you clear guidance.

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