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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 36983
Experience:  Attorney over 16 years, landlord 26 years
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Under a commercial lease that specifies that the tenant pays

Customer Question

Under a commercial lease that specifies that the tenant pays for all utility costs, yet fails to do so and the bill falls back on the landlord, is the section under distress apply for "tenant being in default in payment of any money"? Thus resulting in the landlords right to reclaim the property.
Submitted: 1 year ago via LawDepot.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

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If the lease states that the tenant has to pay all utilities and they are failing to do so, then that is a breach of the lease and would give the landlord the right to give the tenant a written notice of breach and opportunity to cure within a set period dictated by the lease or default state law.

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If the tenant doesn't cure the default within the notice period, then the landlord can terminate the lease and evict the tenant through the courts.

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But as for a "lock out" if that is what you are referring to, the lease must specifically give the landlord the right to retake possession upon a breach of the lease and lock the tenant out or they can't do it.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well the lease was taken from this website for a commercial lease in the state of ohio which basically states that a commercial landlord can use self help measures and allows a lot of leneacy. Although that is not my goal, after repeated attempts to get the tenants to pay the water bill...their hesitation seems to stem from the idea that they are only under strict enforcement policies if they fail to pay the base rent and based on the statement in paragraph #17 from Law Depot commercial lease that states "If and whenever the tenant is in default in payment of any money, whether hereby expressly reserved or deemed as rent, or any part of the rent, the landlord may, without notice or any form of legal process, enter upon the premises and seize, remove...blah blah..."
So my question is whether the statement "default in payment of any money" in paragraph #17 relate to a later paragraph #24 that states that the tenant is "responsible for direct payment of utilities" and whether that lack of payment is considered "Distress".
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

Well, if you as the landlord pay the utility bill and then demand payment from the tenant and they refuse to pay, then that would be "default in payment of any money". But that wouldn't directly relate back to "direct payment of utilities" because if they didn't pay them, that is just a normal breach of the lease. With that said, I kind of have to agree with the tenant on a surface reading of the lease provisions because they don't initially owe you the utilities, they are supposed to pay them directly.

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So you kind of have to back into the "default in payment of any money" portion by paying the water and then demanding payment from the tenant.

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But you can just give them a 3 day written notice of a breach of the lease and then evict under Ohio Revised Code §§ 1923.02 and don't have to back into the default to pay money issue.

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thanks

Barrister

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