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Can my landlord lock me out of my business and then continue to operate it as his under my license?

Dedham, MA |

My landlord locked me out while I was out of town. The sherrif served one of my employees When I got back doors were locked and now the business is still operating under my license and he goes in and takes the money every day. What should I do next? Is this even legal.

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Attorney answers 3


Your Landlord is generally not permitted to take any self-help or extra-judicial actions to lock you out of or deprive you of your right to exclusive use and possession of the leased premises.

If your Landlord believes you are in breach of the terms of your lease agreement, the only rememdy is to initiate eviction proceedings in the local housing or district court. Your landlord is not permitted to lock you out without court order and is not entitled to operate your business without some form of court relief.



That's good to know, what should I do next to get him out?

Christopher McHallam

Christopher McHallam


I recommend contacting an attorney immediately and notifying hte LL in writing that you believe the Landlord is acting in direct violation of the law and that if he does not allow you back into the premises and does not relinquish control and restore the proceeds of your businss that you will seek a court order compelling him to do so along with triple damages and attorney's fees.


This does not sound right to me. You should find an attorney who practices in commercial real estate and get their opinion as to your options. Good luck.

Christopher Vaughn-Martel is a Massachusetts lawyer with the firm of Vaughn-Martel Law in Boston, Massachusetts. All answers are based on Massachusetts law and the limited facts presented by the questioner. All answers are provided to the general public for educational purposes only and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question. To schedule a consultation with a lawyer, and obtain advice and review of your specific legal issue, please call us today at 617-357-4898 or visit us at


Commercial leases are much different from residential ones, and you have fewer "protections" BUT what has happened to you seems outrageous. I wonder, is this a franchised business? If so, I have a similar case im currently handling and id be interested in speaking with you directly. If not, feel free to contact my office anyway--you may have some options here.

This response is not to be considered legal advice by anyone. This communication, alone, does not create an attorney-client privilege. Unless you have executed a fee agreement with the attorney, that is related to the subject matter contained in this communication, you are advised not to rely on this communication to make any decisions whatsoever or to create an attorney-client relationship. No attorney-client relationship shall exist with this attorney without a fee agreement executed by you and the attorney.

Ayanna Ormond McPhail

Ayanna Ormond McPhail


I agree that there are more due process protections in the context of residential leases.

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