Page 8 - NBIZ Magazine April 2021
P. 8

Commercial Tenant’s

        Abandoned Property

        By Brian D. Womac

          t is one thing to find a tenant’s premises abandoned. It is   abandoned the premises if goods, equipment, or other
          quite another to find the tenant gone but the premises still   property, in an amount substantial enough to indicate a
        Ifull of FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment). So, if   probable intent to abandon the premises, is being or has
        one’s tenant is gone and the premises is full of files, fixtures,   been removed from the premises and the removal was not
        furniture, and/or equipment, what does one do? What are the   in the normal course of the tenant’s business. Experienced
        landlord’s rights in regards to this abandoned property?   property managers know when a tenant has abandoned the
           For purposes of this article, one can assume that the   premises even during these unprecedented times. Still, if the
        tenant has abandoned the property and stopped paying   tenant left furniture and other property in place, has there
        rent under a commercial lease. Most commercial leases   been an abandonment? Non-payment of rent plus failure to
        allow a landlord to treat a tenant’s abandonment as an event   occupy the premises will most likely constitute an event(s) of
        of default. Commercial landlords have significantly more   default in commercial leases. The commercial lease controls
        rights than a residential landlord. To fully understand the   the parties’ rights and obligations. When one thinks there
        rights commercial landlords have in regards to an aban-  might be an abandonment, look to the lease to determine the
        doned property in the great state of Texas, one has to look at   possible remedies.
        different scenarios.
                                                               Terminate First
        Abandoned or Not?                                        Most landlords would want to retake the premises upon
           First, how does a landlord know if the tenant has truly   abandonment. Retaking the premises after the tenant
        abandoned the premises and is not just working from home   abandons them during the lease term is highly recom-
        during the pandemic? The Texas Property Code states    mended to protect the premises and start the reletting
        that a tenant is presumed to have

        8  NBIZ  ■ April  2021
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