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Commerical Property Unlawful Detainer/Tenant abandoned and rent unpaid PAST 10 day period.

Oregon City, OR |

I am a property owner in Clackamas County Oregon, My building houses three business, mine a second long term tenant and the PROBLEM TENANT takes up the last 1/3 of the building. He has exceeded the 10 day period to pay rent, it is (was) a market and small restaurant. He has not been back to the space for several weeks. I am preparing an Unlawful Detainer now to file with the clerk of the court. Can I change the locks at this point or do I have to wait to go to court? There are other bill collectors, equipment lessors also showing up at this space looking for him. I feel that the security of the building and the remaining tenant(s) is at risk to this person if they do come back. I would prefer to have the locks changed as soon as possible. What do I do with his equipment?

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Attorney answers 3


I agree with the first answer and only would add the following. As to changing the locks, I would generally not do so unless you know you have the right to recover possession under the terms of the lease. Otherwise, self-help, or what is commonly referred to as a “lockout,” is prohibited. ORS 105.105. As to the equipment, you may have a lien on the lessee's possessions left on the property, which is an additional consideration that you probably should discuss with an attorney. See ORS 87.152 et seq. However, liens are limited to property (e.g. equipment) that the tenant owns outright (i.e. not leased).

If you are not planning on using a lawyer for the FED action, make sure that you satisfy ALL requirements, especially proper notice. Any failure to do so, however technical, could defeat your FED claim and cost you dearly by exposing you to liability for your tenant's attorney fees.

Discussions on Avvo should not be relied upon as legal advice and should not be substituted for an in depth consultation with an attorney. Any answer provided does not create an attorney/client relationship.



thank you both, with regards to notice, the contract states that the lease terminates after the 20th day of non-payment OR abandonment. Both which this tenant has done, his business has been shut down for weeks, from everything I read the 3 day notice to comply is not required. There are no terms regarding equipment specifically, only that the landlord/owner has the right to terminate the lease and reenter. If their ate vendors that own leased equipment inside, I am sure he will let those vendors take possession, but not sure how long he has to allow access after court approves eviction. I assume the next step is prayer for relief n order to collect the balance of the term of lease in which case an attorney will be hired. Have I missed anything? Thanks again for your help! You should also know there are food items in this space that present a risk to the other tenants in the building...



Ps I am searching for an inexpensive lawyer or para in the Oregon City area..

Marcel Gesmundo

Marcel Gesmundo


I doubt any lawyer on Avvo, including this one, will tell you whether you've missed something without having you in for a consultation to fully review your case and all documents. As to suing for the balance on the lease, you may want to file a separate action for that claim so as to keep the summary nature of the FED proceeding. If you're looking for an inexpensive attorney in Oregon City, you can call the Oregon State Bar or simply do an internet search. But you don't need to limit your search so narrowly. Attorneys in Portland, including those at my firm, will represent clients in Oregon City.


Unlike residential leases, commercial lease remedies depend largely upon the language in the contract. There are times when you can change the locks and take possession of a debtor's equipment to enforce your right to be paid under the lease agreement, but whether that makes sense in your case has a lot to do with your lease agreement, their breach, and whether you (and your lawyer) thinks there are better ways (legal, realistic, and being politically savvy) to collect any damages. Because you probably don't want to give out more information publicly and probably don't want to waste any more time, you really need to consult with an attorney in private.

Licensed in Oregon. Advice provided is general legal information relevant to the facts provided. It is not intended as legal advice applicable to your specific situation. No attorney/client relationship is created unless and until we have met and entered into a written representation agreement. Contact me at 541-250-0542 to discuss your matter further.


In the comments you state that you are looking for an inexpensive atty or a para. I want to point out that paralegals in Oregon are not to be practicing law. They are to be supervised by an attorney who is a member of the state bar. Hiring a paralegal to do the job of a lawyer often has disastrous results. They have no malpractice insurance and when they screw up your case (notice I said when, not if) you are on your own to salvage it if you can, or find a lawyer to reverse things and try to fix it at a much greater cost than if you had just hired the lawyer in the first place.

You get what you pay for. Just think of it that way.

THIS IS NOT A CONFIDENTIAL FORUM. PLEASE DO NOT PROVIDE CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION BECAUSE THERE IS NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE PROTECTION. My statement is only a matter of my opinion and does not go to the merits of your case. Seek advice from an attorney in your local area if you have confidential or case specific questions or concerns. No Attorney-Client relationship is established between myself and any other party by communication through until both parties have signed a Retainer Agreement and any necessary fees have been paid to my firm. I am licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District Court for the State of Oregon. If you are in Oregon I am happy to help you if I am able or otherwise will find you someone who can.

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