We rent some commercial space for our business and have done so for the past three years. Last spring, our landlord’s agent provided us with lease renewal paperwork, which we executed and gave back to him.
We believed our lease had been renewed and we kept paying our rent until last month when we received a letter from the lawyers for our landlord stating that we were in a position of ‘overholding’ and that the lease had been terminated.
In the fall we had a run-in with the agent concerning parking in the back laneway. We have now been given one month’s notice to vacate the premises and feel that this may ruin our business that we have grown from this location. What can we do?
Although you signed the lease renewal, it was still your responsibility to make sure the landlord had also signed the document.
Usually this is standard practice, but unfortunately in your case, the renewal has not been executed. Therefore, the landlord is in a position to request you leave the premises in a timely fashion. The notice period for this process should be set out in your original lease.
You may have a cause of action against the landlord because they did not inform you they were not renewing the lease. You may also have some cause of action if the agent was the person who did not provide the lease renewal to the landlord, but that would most likely be a very tough thing to prove.
However, in the meantime you should look for an alternate space because you don’t want to be in a position where the landlord can lock you out and seize your goods.
Also, you might consider foregoing any legal action because your focus should be the survival of your business and your livelihood rather than uncertain revenge.
Jeffrey Cowan is the principal of Cowan Taylor & McGee and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.