Up until the lockout, the landlord had been accepting our late and partial payments for rent for over a year. Now, all of a sudden, they demanded payment of the full outstanding balance which was over $50,000 dollars of unpaid rent, CAM charges, and late fees within 10 days. We were unable to make full payment. We again made a partial payment, but they came and locked out the business 5 days later with no warning. Do we have any rights in this situation?
Maybe, maybe not. If you could establish a pattern of accepting non-compliant payments by the landlord you might have something to talk about. Most commercial landlords are pretty careful when they accept a partial payment to make sure it is clear they are not waiving their rights by doing so. If that sort of thing never happened you might have an argument. You will need an attorney to help you make this argument and if you can't pay your rent how are you going to pay an attorney? In theory you might be able to take control back by filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy (a reorganization, not a liquidation) but that takes a lot of money to the BK lawyer because he has to come up with a plan of reorganization and you really need to show the court that you can survive. I don't know enough about your situation to really point you in a direction, but I can say to take a look at your cash flow and see if you can afford some legal help.
This answer does not create and attorney-client relationship. You can only create that relationship by meeting with Mr. Holt and signing a retainer agreement.
Your lease might have the answer to your question. Landlords, generally, do not accept partial payments, unless there is a provision in the lease that says that doing so does not waive any of the rights under the lease to seek possession or any deficiency.
I agree with Attorney Holt's comments above. I would also add that your lease should contain language concerning the remedies of the landlord, including the process by which they can evict you and retake possession. I point this out because your facts presented leave me curious as to whether or not the landlord took proper action in HOW they removed you. The contract controls this question (traditionally) and may provide you more answers on what your options are in this situation and give a roadmap to you regaining some control over this situation. I hope this was helpful. Peace and wellness, Mike Troncellito
This is not legal advice and no attorney client relationship is created by any information provided here.
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