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My commercial lease is expiring​ soon, and landlord refuses to renew the lease or extend the term of the lease.

White Plains, NY |

How soon after the expiration of the lease can landlord start eviction proceeding?
How much time will court give me to leave?
How much will it cost for me for a lawyer to defend me in court?
Will I be responsible to pay landlord's legal fees?

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Attorney answers 6


Your lease contract should govern most of this. If you hold over, eviction proceedings can start fairly quickly. Lawyer fees and costs can vary wildly. Fortunately, avvo has great local lawyer search and contact features, so you can ask questions and often get free advice fairly easily under "find a lawyer."

Our office accepts clients off of Avvo, but this initial impression is not protected by any privilege, is not attorney-client communication and you should consult a lawyer promptly about any legal matter.


What does your lease say about paying the landlord's legal fees?

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been handling criminal defense and personal injury cases for over 17 years. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails, is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


Your landlord can start an eviction proceeding the day after your lease expires. You should consult a local landlord/tenant lawyer to get a good idea as to how much time the local courts are inclined to give commercial tenants to move after a proceeding has started. Lawyers fees can vary, depending on the complexity of the case. You may be responsible to pay the landlord's attorneys' fees if your lease has an attorneys' fees clause that allows the landlord to collect its fees in the event it has to bring you to court. You should try to consult a lawyer about all of these issues before your lease expires.

The above constitutes general information only and should not be considered legal advice.


Dear White Plains Tenant:

The landlord is allowed to commence the summary holdover proceeding upon the end of the lease. If the landlord accepts a new rent payment after the lease the landlord will continue the tenancy on the same terms and conditions as the expired lease on a month to month basis and then must end the month to month tenancy before going to court.

You may "buy" time in the eviction proceeding to allow for an orderly removal from the space but that will depend on agreements you and the landlord make in court and usually will involve paying the landlord for an extension of time.

A better course is make an agreement with the landlord before the lease expires where you resolve the issues of the end of the lease and allow for additional time to move out without the need to defend a lawsuit as soon as the lease ends. Hiring an attorney for a negotiated settlement makes more sense than waiting for a judge to direct your eviction.

All standard forms of commercial leases will provide for the tenant's liability to pay the landlord's legal fees in case the tenant breaches the lease and forces the landlord to court. Holding over in possession after the lease concludes is a breach of lease and will trigger the attorney fees clause. At the end of this a judge may choose or not choose to allow for the landlord's legal fees even if the landlord wins the eviction proceeding. Check your own lease to see if there is no legal fee provision.

You and your lawyer agree on the cost of your legal representation. Usually, more time consumed in the representation translates into more money for the legal services.

The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.


Aside from the wonderful answers you already received, I'd like to point out that many commercial leases provide for "holdover rent" (typically 125% or 150% the then existing rent) so you may want to ascertain whether your lease has such a provision before holding over! Good luck.

I'm just 3 "helpful" answers away from a free toaster-oven! I may be guessing or not licensed in your state. No atty/client relationship exists.


There is virtually no valid defense to a holdover proceeding, which is what the landlord commences after the expiration of a lease, if he doesn't want to renegotiate or extend it. You'll be wasting money if you let the landlord take you to court and then try to defeat a holdover. Much better to amicably resolve any outstanding issues, and possibly get more time to vacate, if you (with an attorney) talk with the landlord before the lease expires.

I am an attorney admitted solely in NY. None of the answers I submit on this forum constitutes legal advice, even to questioners in NY, and no attorney-client relationship is hereby created.

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