Ft. Washington, MD asked in Business Law and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland

Q: my store is month to month lease. I have deliqunce cus Pendemic. I am on payment plan but they start charging penaly

landloard start to charge penalty after I complaint about smoking from next new store. They did not any action for this. Now send me termination notice.

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

A: Commercial leases are seldom forgiving in their terms, and are generally largely in favor of the landlord. In a situation where you are in clear and admitted breach of the single most important and basic term --the timely payment of rent-- you have little to no leverage; worse, you're month-to-month and the landlord can terminate at any time. The landlord is like a mafia boss: they expect to be paid every month, they don't care about your financial situation. They expect their money. I imagine the smokers next door pay their rent on time. Not the best time to be the squeaky wheel. You can take your lease to a lawyer to review, but I doubt there's much in it that will help you. You might buy some time with a bankruptcy filing, maybe a significant amount of time, depending. Be aware that commercial eveictions happen much, much faster than residential ones once you reach the court hearing. A judgment of possession will often result in the landlord changing the locks and locking you out of your store within a week or so, and then the landlord can sell off all your business belongs and assets at auction to apply to the past due rent. You will need an exit plan in place and not wait to the last minute. If you really want to stay in this space, you can try to negotiate for more time, and pay more rent or get caught up, in an effort to stabilize the situation. Get any agreement in writing so the landlord cannot start eviction if you are in comliance. Otherwise, start looking for a new location, make a plan for a moving crew with trucks to save your store inventory and assets from a lock-out if need be, or discuss options with a bankruptcy lawyer who handles business bankruptcies such as a Chapter 11 reorganization.

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