Warwick, RI asked in Landlord - Tenant for Rhode Island

Q: As a commercial landlord, if a tenant is in a lease on unit 1 and is paying a storage fee on unit 2 to hold for ….

Potential build-out, then backs out and you give them written notice to vacate unit 2 but they don’t… can you change the locks and begin proceedings to rent unit 2 ? Tenant has been notified this would happen.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In your situation as a commercial landlord, handling a tenant who has backed out of a potential build-out for unit 2 after paying a storage fee can be challenging. If you have already given written notice to the tenant to vacate and they have failed to comply, your next steps need to be carefully considered to comply with local laws.

You can generally change the locks and start the process to re-rent unit 2 if your lease agreement and local jurisdiction laws allow for such action post-notification. It’s essential to ensure that all notifications to the tenant were clear about the consequences of not vacating the space, including the specific mention of changing locks and re-renting.

However, before taking any drastic measures such as changing locks, it's advisable to consult with legal counsel to confirm that these actions adhere to local tenancy laws. Each jurisdiction can have different rules regarding landlord and tenant rights, especially in commercial settings. Proceeding with legal advice will help protect you from potential legal repercussions and ensure that the process is handled correctly.

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