There are two avenues available to the landlord. The first is utilized where the landlord wishes to continue the tenancy. If the tenant owns valuable goods in the leased premises that have not been pledged as security to third-party lenders, the landlord may distrain them, meaning that the landlord enters the premises, takes control, changes the locks and seizes the goods for sale. The terms of the lease must be carefully reviewed to determine the proper notice provisions. If the lease is silent on notice provisions, the tenant is entitled to 15 days’ notice by way of law. In order to effect a proper distress, the landlord must be careful not to terminate the lease and must allow the tenant continued access to the premises. Subject to certain limitations or the bankruptcy of the tenant, the landlord may sell the goods and retain the funds to help offset the rent owed.
The second avenue is used where the landlord wishes to terminate the tenancy. The landlord may evict the tenant by serving a notice of forfeiture to the tenant with a reasonable amount of time for it to vacate the unit. The locks may be changed so that the landlord takes control. The landlord must allow the tenant access to remove its belongings. Even if the tenant has defaulted, however, the tenant may be able to apply to the court to obtain relief from forfeiture and prevent the eviction if it pays the overdue rent in a timely manner, in which case the lease would be reinstated. If the landlord does evict the tenant, it must try to mitigate its damages by re-leasing the premises to another interested party, although it may still commence an action against the tenant for the rent owed and its costs of termination. These remedies should be carefully undertaken with advice from a real estate lawyer, to ensure that they are exercised properly at law.