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Can a landlord lock a commercial tenant out due to unpaid rent?

Claxton, GA |

I owe rent on my thrift store (one and a half months) and the landlord has locked me out and refuses to give me access to my belongings inside the store. What are my options?

We do NOT have a contract, only a verbal agreement.

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Attorney answers 2


Generally, a landlord must file a dispossessory (eviction) action and allow the tenant to respond and have a trial. However, if your commercial lease provides otherwise, your landlord may be able to do so. Have an attorney review the lease agreement.

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The foregoing is general information only, not specific legal advice. No attorney/client relation has been created or should be implied.


Under Georgia law, a commercial lease may provide for the eviction of a tenant without the necessity of filing a dispossessory proceeding. However, if such a provision is not included in a written lease, signed by both the landlord and the tenant, a landlord must use the dispossessory proceedings to move forward. In addition, though the landlord might technically have a lien on the property in the store, because the lease is not in writing, the landlord is on very shaky ground in not letting you have access to your property. It sounds to me like you have a pretty good grievance against the landlord-- just be aware that any action you take will be responded to with a claim for past-due rent. Your best stance here may be to use any leverage you have to settle with the landlord--maybe aim for a "no harm no foul" scenario.

Good luck!

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice; I have made a number of assumptions about your situation and do not know enough details to render any legal opinion, nor intend to render one. In addition, we have no attorney-client relationship.