A lease is essentially a contract where an owner of property (“lessor”) grants a leasehold interest in property to another (“lessee”) for a specified term and for a specific purpose. Breach of Lease usually occurs when either the lessee or lessor violates a material provision in the lease. When a lessee/tenant breaches the lease (usually by failure to pay rent), what can the lessor/landlord do legally?
The options usually boil down to actions for recovery of possession, unpaid rent, and unlawful detainer. In order to recover “possession” of the premises, a lessor/landlord can file for an order of ejectment from the applicable Court to remove the lessee/tenant. Ejectment, however, only orders the removal of the lessee/tenant. A rent action is essentially for all past due rents under the lease. This is a purely monetary remedy.
An unlawful detainer action is appropriate when a lessee/tenant willfully and without force holds over any lands, tenements or other possessions, after the termination of the lease. In the event of a default in a lease, and the lessor/landlord desires that the lease be terminated by reason of the default, the landlord must closely examine the lease to determine whether the lease contains appropriate provisions for notice to the tenant of t he default and an opportunity for the tenant to cure the default which, if followed, will permit the lease to be terminated.
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