This feature originally appeared in the August 31st edition of the Pittsburgh Business Times.
Q: I have a business tenant that hasn’t paid rent. What should I do?
Advice: First, look at your lease to determine what remedies are set forth in the agreement. Many commercial leases include a confession of judgment clause for possession of the leased premises. This allows you to have the tenant immediately ejected from the premises for failing to pay rent. You may also have a confession of judgment clause that will allow you to collect money for past due rent.
If your lease does not contain these remedies, send your tenant a 30-day notice to vacate the premises. If they don’t vacate, be prepared to file suit in district justice court for possession of your premises and for unpaid rent. You may want to consult with counsel to assist you in enforcing the confession of judgment clauses and filing suit. Often, commercial leases contain a provision for recovery of attorney’s fees should legal action to enforce the lease become necessary.