Burke, VA asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Maryland

Q: Can I be evicted from my commercial space without a lease in place? How much time am I entitled to have to move out?

I own a salon and never had a written lease and the building has been sold and the new owner and I can't agree on terms for a lease and he told me I need to move out by Sunday March 27, 2022. What are my legal rights and how much time do I have to move out?

1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: You have few protections in a commercial lease dispute--it is not like residential landlord-tenant law. You admit you have no lease, so I assume you had some sort or oral lease arrangement with the previous owner of the building. The argument would be you were on a month-t0-month lease of your agreed rent was paid on a monthy basis (say, the 1st of the month rent is due for that month). If you have paid the rent for the month you are currently in, and the landlord accepted that payment, then yu should be fine through the end of the month. Your argument in court would have to be that (1) you have an oral lease with the prior owner; (2) the new owner purchased the building subject to any leases enetered into with current tenants, so he is bound; (3) you are entitled to 30 days notice to terminate the month-to-month lease term. If the landlord files for judgment of possession of the premises, and is successful at the court hearing, you will have very little time following a court issued order granting possession of the premises to the new owner to vacate before being locked out and evicted. Commercial landlords will often install new locks, and seize all your business equipment and belongings for the purpose of auction and sale to pay any back rent or damages. Be forewarned. Be prepared to move your equipment upon any adverse court judgment. Appeal rights in landlord tenant cases are extremely limited, and the time to file notice of appeal can be as short as 2 days in some circumstances.

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