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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 37652
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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I bought a Pizza one year ago. After a couple of mounts the

Customer Question

I bought a Pizza one year ago. After a couple of mounts the business become very slow,I could not pay the rent.We had a discussion with the lendlord to reduce the rent and I have e-mail confirmation for this. We never sign a cotract, because at this time I had spine surgery .After that I decided to sell the business.I gave the landlord 10000 $ and he agreed to have the rest by the closing.When I had a real buyer, the landlord changed the door lock of the Pizza without writt.permition and insisted I to leave without the equipment. I don't have access to the Pizza. Ther was a plenty of food, which is bed now .I already failed to pay bills and taxes /selltaxes and payrol taxes/ because I need information from the register and the documents. I have there money / I don't know if the money is there anymore/. And this equipment is bought with a loan from friends and the guaranty for the loan.They gave me permission to sell it, but if I can not sell the business they insist to have it. I need to sue the landlord, for acting like criminal ,chnging the lock, for material and moral damages /he caused the failure of the selling , / and to take the equipment.Can I do this and how?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

Did he give you notice that he was going to change the locks? How behind were you in terms of rent to him?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No , he did not give a notice. A couple of mounts, but we barely could pay the dayly expensess at this time. The gross incom was between 5000 and 6000$ , last two mounts less then 3000. He charged us every mount with 2500, wich was the rent with the former tenant. We never had a contract with him.We gave him 10000 while seeking for buyer and he agreed to have the rest /15000/ by the closing. Actually at this time we were onder cotract with the buyer and when every thing was ready for the closig he chanded the lock .
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your patience.

While your landlord is a thug, most of the things he has done was within the law. Since this is a commercial lease, if you are behind (and you never signed terms extending or modifying the lease), the landlord is free to lock you out from the business. While that is something that ends up hurting your business, he can claim that once you pay back the rents, he will be free to permit you back on the premises. Because of that you cannot directly sue him for damages, either direct or moral, as he can claim that you caused the damages yourself when you failed to pay rent. Therefore he is also no directly liable for the blown business sale. He, however, cannot demand that you sell the equipment to you--that is YOUR equipment, and you are free to sell it to whomever you wish. At the same time until you pay back the rent, the landlord is within his rights to keep the property locked out and not let you on the premises.

Your best option is to take him to court, get the judge to permit you to open the locks and remove your personal items from the property. Anything else becomes a difficult situation against the landlord.

I am very sorry and I wish I had a better answer for you.

Edited by Dimitry Alexander Kaplun on 8/1/2010 at 7:10 AM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
What if I present a proof that I allready sold the equipment to the people, who gave me the loan to buy it and they insist to take the equipment, because they are the owner now,I have only their agreement to sell it. And why The landlord have the right to change the lock without court order?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
If you can show that you sold off the equipment and received payment, the landlord can request that you provide him with that payment as back rent. Only if the sale and transfer of assets took place before the lockout would the judge conceivably put in a court order to re-open that premises and permit you to take out the equipment.

As for why the landlord replaced without a court order, that is because this is a commercial lease, rather than a residential one--if this were a residential lease then formal eviction orders would be required. Such orders, unless so stated in the lease agreement (which you do not possess) are not required. A commercial landlord can utilize self-help and can lock you out from the premises.

I am sorry.

Edited by Dimitry Alexander Kaplun on 8/1/2010 at 7:32 AM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Sorry, but I need a little more information. I can show, that I sold the premisess a couple of mounts ago, long before the lock out which happend two weeks ago, to the people,who gave me the money as a loan to buy the equipment . And now they insist to take tha equipment. That means I did not receive any money, because they gave me this money as a loan to buy it in the beginning and the warranty for this loan was the equipment. What would the judge say? Das the landlord have the right to keep this equipment, which does not belong to me?

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