In British Columbia, commercial landlords do not have a general right to re-enter the leased premises on the tenant’s default. This right must be spelled out in the commercial lease.
Writing a re-entry clause into the lease
Such a clause should outline the specific set of circumstances or defaults that will give rise to the landlords’ right to re-enter. The clause should also specify the process for the landlord to exercise this right, including the amount of time, if any, that the tenant is to be given to cure the default.
A commercial landlord must be careful to comply with any such notice requirements. Without the required notice, the landlord will not be entitled to re-entry, and re-entry by the landlord’s may be a breach of the lease and a trespass, exposing the landlord to damages.
Can a landlord re-enter if the commercial tenant is a bankrupt?
If a tenant declares bankruptcy, the landlord’s right to re-entry under the lease will be subject to the trustee in bankruptcy’s right to occupy the premises for up to three months, as set out in the Commercial Tenancy Act. However, the trustee in bankruptcy will be liable for occupation rent during this time. In practice, the landlord should work with the trustee to determine what use, if any, they plan to make of the leased premises, and what occupation rent is to be paid.
A lawyer experienced in resolving commercial lease disputes can advise landlords on the various possible remedies for dealing with tenants in default.