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ACT Is Landlord Allowed to Change My Locks Under Commercial Law?

Discussion in 'Commercial Law Forum' started by Arman, 13 July 2016.

  1. Arman

    Arman Member

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    My landlord changed the locks on my restaurant and has 5 security guards at the door, not allowing me to enter my restaurant. The fit out cost me over 500,000.00 as I do construction work.

    I had a verbal agreement with the landlord and I did the job for him, which took me a month with 7 employees. The cost was over 70,000.00. We agreed that he was not going to pay me for the work I did for him and I don't have to pay rent for 6 months. Until 2 months ago, he was OK after that.

    He suddenly changed the locks on my restaurant and has security there. I called him and asked what was going on, and he told me that it was because I hadn't paid rent for this month and that he didn't accept the deal we had. He told me I could take him to court for not paying me for the work I did. I told him that it was fine, and that I had the rent for him. I asked him to call his security off because it damages my business and my reputation, but he yelled at me, told me no.

    I called the police and they told me it's not their job. Then one of the security guys was trying to be tough so I pushed him away and he called police on me. They came faster than ambulance removed me from my restaurant.

    My question is, is the landlord allowed to do this under commercial law?
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Not based on your post. However the landlord may have a different version of events and someone needs to work out the who is telling the truth or whether there's been a genuine misunderstanding.

    You need to advise the landlord asap that he will be responsible for all your costs in defending your position if you win the case, including damage to your business. Get a lawyer asap and work through the issues with them. You need to mitigate your losses and that means moving quickly to sort out this mess.
     
  3. Arman

    Arman Member

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    Thank you very much for your reply, I appreciate it a lot.

    I was really upset when this happened, but based on your opinions and a few of mates', I meet a good lawyer his working on it now. Also I send her lawyer the agreement I had with the landlord and he said he never knew that we had this agreement or I have done construction work for him.

    His Solistor advised him that he has the right to change the locks because it's been a month and half I haven't paid rent, but he didn't tell his Solistor we have agreed that, so based on our agreement it means I have paid him rent for 6 months up the front.

    If you're late a month and half of paying rent, does the landlord have the right to change the locks without warning you?
     
  4. Serge Gorval

    Serge Gorval Well-Known Member

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    From your post, you say

    1. you performed work in exchange for 6-month free rent
    2. you did not pay rent for the preceding 2/3 months
    3. on month 3, he changed your locks for not paying rent for the last 1.5 months?
    4. I imagine there is nothing in writing regarding your rent for work agreement ?

    There're a few things that could be explored here.

    1. issue him an invoice for work performed if he rejects your agreement and failing him paying, commence recovery action ( cheapest option).
    2. bring a claim for restitution or quantum merit ( more complex) but, in essence, your argument is that he profited from your work and has not remunerated you.
    3. consider a claim in equity for specific performance or an injunction.
    4. bring a claim for damages.

    Obviously the above is general advice and you need to get proper legal advice
     
    Rod likes this.

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