A Business & Banking Law Firm

For Businesses – Litigation

Commercial Landlord-Tenant Disputes

Typically, when people hear the word “landlord,” they imagine a single individual who acts as the landlord for a residential apartment building. However, in addition to residential landlords, there are also thousands upon thousands of commercial landlords who lease space not to private residents, but entire businesses. Because commercial leases are often much larger in scope and more complicated in terms of finances, contractual details, and legal technicalities, the process for the eviction and ultimate removal of a tenant in a business or commercial lease is much different, and the stakes much higher, than in a smaller-scale residential lease arrangement.

Commercial Landlord-Tenant Dispute Matters We Handle

The commercial landlord-tenant dispute attorneys at Maselli, Mills & Fornal, PC represent both commercial landlords and tenants in matters including but not limited to:

  • Eviction
  • Habitability
  • Suitability
  • Lease Disputes
  • Contract Disputes

At Maselli, Mills & Fornal, our attorneys bring their collective experience in bankruptcy, creditors’ rights, and business litigation together in order to create comprehensive, multifaceted litigation strategies for all of our commercial leasing clients. These complementary practice areas are invaluable in litigating a wide variety of commercial renter issues, such as:

  • Priority disputes among creditors.
  • The applicability of a landlord’s statutory lien.
  • The status of a security interest lien.
  • The overall ability of a commercial landlord to access tenant assets.

We also counsel and assist our commercial leasing clients when a tenant or landlord files for bankruptcy, which can throw a considerable legal wrench into the workings of rent and contractual obligations where parties on both sides of the bankruptcy are concerned.

Furthermore, the attorneys at Maselli, Mills & Fornal assist our clients in addressing the non-economic aspects of business and commercial leasing. For example, a common matter we handle in this area is the respective liabilities of both landlords and tenants for accidents occurring in common areas.

Why Choose Maselli, Mills & Fornal?

At Maselli, Mills & Fornal, our commercial landlord-tenant dispute attorneys have over 25 years of experience litigating commercial rent matters.  In our nearly three decades of practicing commercial landlord and tenant law, we have encountered virtually every challenge, technicality, and scenario imaginable: no matter how complicated or overwhelming the nature of your case may seem, it’s extremely likely that our attorneys have seen it before.

Additionally, because our attorneys have expertise in the fields of bankruptcy, business litigation, and creditor rights, we have a wealth of useful background knowledge which converges on the area of commercial landlord-tenant disputes.  We use our experience across multiple practice areas to bolster our cases for our clients, whereas attorneys who come from a more limited background are not equipped with the same resources to put toward cases of commercial landlord-tenant disputes.

The Commercial Eviction Process in New Jersey

Even with residential eviction, there are still formalities which need to be observed under New Jersey state law — and where commercial eviction is concerned, the process becomes even more elaborate. Whether residential or commercial, a landlord cannot simply evict a tenant at their own discretion. There are conditions and time limits which must be met.

The most common reasons for eviction include holdover (overstaying a lease), deliberate destruction of property, breach of contract, and of course, failure to pay rent. When a landlord wishes to evict a commercial tenant, the process unfolds in several steps:

  1. The landlord must file a summary dispossession action.  This includes information like addresses and fees, and must be filed in the county where the property is physically located.
  2. The court will determine the next step.  If a tenant doesn’t respond to the dispossession action, the court will award a default judgment to the landlord.  If the tenant does respond, the court will then typically order mediation, which, if unsuccessful, may then be followed by litigation.
  3. A judgment is awarded.  If mediation spills over into litigation, the court often awards possession of the property to the landlord.  However, the process is far from over at this point.
  4. Redemption or appeal.  The tenant has two options at this juncture: they can either appeal the court’s judgment, or alternately, they have 30 days in which to “redeem” the situation and remain in the property by righting their violation (e.g. paying rent).
  5. Warrant of removal.  After the court awards a possession judgment, the landlord has 30 days to apply for a warrant of removal, which is ultimately executed by a constable (court officer).

Commercial landlord-tenant disputes are complex matters. Contact the law offices of Maselli, Mills & Fornal online, or call us at (800) 891-2657 to arrange for a private consultation with an experienced attorney. 

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