Defaulting Tenant Can’t Stop Owner from Making Alterations

Q: The owner of the shopping center where I rent space took over my storage space to correct a building code violation. Although I breached the lease by not complying with the building code, isn’t the owner in breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing by retaking the rented space?

A: No, according to a Pennsylvania court that ruled that a retail tenant in similar circumstances who breached its lease couldn’t stop the owner from entering the premises and making alterations, or claim obstruction of the property.

Once you, as the tenant, defaulted on your lease, the owner is entitled to enter the premises and make any alterations it needs to make. That’s because since you defaulted on the terms of your agreement, you didn’t have the possessory rights you must have to contest a retaking of the property. This is especially true for a tenant that abandoned the property in dispute, along with breaching the terms of the lease [Trizechahn Gateway, LLC v. Titus, September 2007].

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