Every so often, a salon owner will end up with a booth renter that is more trouble than her weekly rent check is worth…but how do you get rid of her for good?

There are a few things you need to understand as an owner of a booth rental establishment before you take a single action in this matter.

1.) Getting rid of a booth renter isn’t as simple as “firing” her.

That renter isn’t your employee. She’s a business renter and you are just a landlord. Your job is to collect checks and make sure the building is safe. You can’t pack up her things or change the locks without following the proper eviction procedure outlined by your state. In the majority of states I’ve researched, landlords are required to give tenants a written 30 day eviction notice unless the tenant has defaulted on the rent. If the tenant has defaulted, there are some states that require 7 days and some that require 14. Some even allow immediate lockouts, but that’s a rare exception. I came across literally one or two that allowed immediate eviction, but I can’t remember which. In any case, you need to check your state’s statutes immediately.

2.) Your contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if it is written improperly.

If your rental agreement violated federal tax or labor laws, you’ve incriminated yourself and nothing written in that contract is valid. Owners do this with alarming frequency by requiring renters to adhere to schedules, dress codes, conduct codes, or to attend mandatory meetings and training sessions.  It doesn’t matter what the renter agreed to and signed her name to, if any terms of that agreement violate the law it is void in its entirety.

3.) If the contract is void, it does not mean you can just kick the renter out.

If you accept payment in return for space (even without a written lease) you have a common law (or oral) lease. Common law leases are required to abide by the same laws written leases are.

4.) You cannot steal, sell, or withhold personal items, products, or tools from a tenant that has defaulted.

This is definitely unethical and very likely illegal. Generally, a landlord may only seize a tenant’s property through a court order or (depending on your state’s statutes) after mailing a notification to the tenant and making reasonable efforts to return the items to the tenant for an amount of time determined by your state. On average, I find that most states require between 14-30 days.

Proper Eviction Procedure

1.) Read your contract again. 

Check the lease to see if you’ve made any of the common mistakes that owners make. This will affect how you proceed going forward. The last thing you want to do is try to use a void rental agreement as leverage. If you handle this improperly, the renter can (and most likely will) threaten to use that document against you in civil court. (Side note: This is why I strongly recommend paying the money to have an attorney write the lease for you. You are not a lawyer. Do not write your own contracts. Ever.)

2.) Check your state’s statutes regarding commercial tenant eviction.

Things you need to know are:

  • What needs to be included in the eviction notice and how is it to be delivered?
  • How much notice are you required to give? If your agreement is week-to-week, does that change the notice period? (In some states a week-to-week agreement can be terminated with only seven days notice by either party.)
  • Are verbal, common law leases given any different requirements than written ones in your jurisdiction?
  • If your renter abandoned the space, how are her belongings and past due rent to be handled?

3.) Arrange a private meeting with the renter to discuss the eviction.

Don’t just serve the eviction notice on the renter. Talk about it first. Try to handle this gently but firmly. Give her specific, honest reasons for why you are terminating her lease, but don’t let it turn into an argument. There always exists a slight possibility that she will be willing to turn her behavior around. Give her the opportunity to explain herself and to receive honest feedback from you.

I would love to supply everyone with a sample eviction notice, but the reasons for evicting a tenant vary as do the statutes in each state. A termination due to non-payment looks very different than a standard termination. Some states issue them for free at your local courthouse.

I cannot stress the importance of checking your state statutes. Your notice has to follow your state’s eviction guidelines.

Many states require certain statements be present in an eviction notice and that the landlord follows their procedures. Don’t let a bad eviction notice put you in a position to be sued for evicting illegally. As with contract drafting, if you can afford to have an attorney draft this for you, do so.

The Salon Landlord’s Toolkit

Are you renting space to beauty professionals? If so, this toolkit is for you. The Salon Landlord’s Toolkit includes:

  • Rental Salon Ownership 101: A 22-page comprehensive guide to rental salon ownership
    that breaks down everything you need to know in language you can understand.
  • The Rent Calculator: A spreadsheet system that will automatically calculate your rental rates for you.
  • The Rent Calculator Guide: A 6-page instruction manual that will walk you through the spreadsheet in simple steps so you understand what your numbers mean.
  • The Rental Salon Owner’s Lease Component Checklist: What makes a perfect lease that’s appealing to tenants, protects landlords, and fair to both parties? This checklist covers the terms and covenants every great lease should contain.
  • The Sample Lease Agreement: Against my better judgement, I have included a sample lease agreement. This lease is not meant to be used as a template, but to illustrate what a formal lease agreement looks like. Feel free to use this tool when drafting your lease terms, but never, EVER use it in your own business until a qualified attorney has reviewed and approved it.
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  1. We work in a booth rental salon. We gave 21 days written notice via text message after a refused face to face meeting. Was told if we were going to vacate to pack that night and leave. Are we entitled to our remainder of the rent reimbursed to us?

    • Hi Cari! You should be, but it depends greatly on the terms of the lease (if you have one). It might be worth it to consider talking to an attorney about it. At the very least, you can attempt to have the money returned in small claims court.

  2. I’m a salon owner. My booth renter, got upset because of a rent increase. He got his stuff and took off. He took everything! How should I approach this? He was really loud and he didn’t give me a 30 notice or anything. I don’t care that he is gone, however, should I put something in writting? And if so, what? It’s not like he is going to sign it.

    • Your renters have the right to leave at their discretion. So long as his rent is paid up, there’s nothing you can really do to stop them. You should amend your leases though to request thirty day written notice of departure. You can certainly require the notice (which will give you time and their rental income for you to find another tenant), but you can’t force them to stay in the space until their lease is up.

      If he took items that belonged to you, you can call the police and report it as theft–but if you can’t prove the items were actually yours by providing proof of purchase, it might not be easily won.

  3. hey tina im a salon owner and have a problem with a booth renter shes doesnt pay on time and its week to week would i be able to let her go for that theres no contract ?

    • If I were you, I’d give her two options: she either pays two months up-front as a security deposit and pays on the first of the month (for the whole month) from then on, or she gets two weeks’ written notice of eviction and must vacate within 14 days.

    • But yes, you just have to give her 7 days notice, since it’s week to week. Make sure it’s written and documented. I’d deliver it to her in person and send her a copy in an email.

  4. Comment: My friend is a nail tech in a salon, she rents a booth. She decided to go out on her own and she gave the salon owner a 3 week notice. The owner came back from vacation a week later and changed all the locks and is not allowing her to get her equipment that she bought and paid for; ie pedicure chairs and nail tech stations and all the supplies. Is it legal for the shop owner to do this to her?

  5. Hey Tina. I lease a massage room out with a month to month and 30 day notice. The renter wants to put up large ugly signs in windows of the salon, always complaining that I dont promote her (which I have her listed with all of her services and contact info listed on my website free of charge). It’s just alot of drama. I hosted and paid for an open house which I included her in, let her invite whoever she wants, and she wrote a nasty rude follow up on her FB page to her clients because not 1 of them came. I don’t want my salon name to be associated with that kind of negative stuff. Am I allowed to give her eviction notice?

    • You’re welcome! If she looks like she wants to jump ship sooner than the 30 days, you can also offer to reimburse the remainder of her rent for the month by breaking it down by the amount of days she’s actually used it. That may prove to be a solution that suits both of you. She clearly needs an employer (since she’s definitely not ready for rental if she’s relying on you to supply her with clients), and with her attitude, the sooner she’s gone, the better.

  6. hi there, i’m a first time salon owner an still learning new things daily! I have a renter who has an still is building her clientele. the business i own has new people daily, not necessarily for her but because the have heard of my business. i’m fine with her talking walk ins if i’m busy so we don’t have walk outs, but is it ok for her to just redirect them to her??? like have them just call her cell phone instead of call the business phone? her business cards are the exact same as mine, should they have a different pattern an eveything?

    • Absolutely. She’s not part of your business—she’s her own business. That means she needs to have her own brand and manage her own operations entirely. Part of that means acquiring her own clients herself. You don’t owe her walk-ins or clients at all unless you’ve agreed to provide them to her. (I highly advise against that, btw. Charge for new clients.) Once she has obtained a new client, their information belongs to her business. Since she’s in charge of managing her operations entirely by herself (read this to learn more about her role as a booth renter), then the clients are clients of her business; not yours. They should be dealing with her directly.

  7. Hi Tina, I am a booth renter in a salon, I was a owner myself at one time. I have rented for ten months and did not know I had to have a knee and hip replacement in 6 month apart. I had a fall about four weeks into the business, I spent fifteen thousand on renovation and it is hard to find space in my small town. I could not work for 4 months hardley, And in between operations could stand maybe four hours a day. Never have I been late on rent, I missed one appointment by mistake, I programed her name incorrectly on my phone. Being a holiday she was very angry and I sad because she was a great client. I smoothed things over and explained what had happened, she said no hard feelings.
    Three days later right when I can finally stand and be productive without pain she text me and gave me a thirty day notice. I wanted to talk in person but she declined and thanked me for the rent check. I just did a thousand dollars worth of advertising and am beyond angry.
    I asked her to text/email the lease, two days later nothing. I canceled the check moved everything out and left the keys after locking door. What is your opinion?
    One friend thins I should be reimbursed for work and advertising, I have no idea, I am angry, almost 5 months paid rent and not a chance to actually get going, I was so happy until this.

    • Holy crap. Fifteen thousand?! Yeah, consult with an attorney immediately. After reading your comment on the Independent Contractor article, I didn’t think you had spent much more than a few thousand, but wow. That’s too much not to pursue. It sounds like she took advantage of your time out by taking rent during that time, when she likely knew she’d be terminating the lease as soon as you returned. It’s unacceptable.

  8. Salon owner is unprofessional, and is rude to the stylist’s. When the stylist spoke to her about her conduct she told her to that she was going to evict her. Can you be evicted because the landlord doesn’t like you? The stylist has been there 2 years, and has a substantial clientele they don’t want to jeprodize their clientele by having to change locations.

    • Unfortunately, you likely can be evicted just because the landlord doesn’t like you (unless your state has laws protecting commercial tenants–but those instances are rare). However, it sounds like the landlord in this situation may be doing her a favor. If the owner is unprofessional, there’s a possibility the clients are noticing it, which could be hurting the tenant’s business in the long run. She may be better off finding a place to rent where she won’t have to put up with any of that nonsense.

  9. Hi Tina. I am a massage therapist who owns a small Wellness center, not a salon, but maybe you can still help me! I aquired a large adjoining suite next to my massage business after my partner decided to quit massage and be a nurse(my landlord knows this). I decided to bring on 3 yoga instructors to use the suite Tuesdays-Saturdays. I had them sign a contract saying they can use the suite to teach yoga during business hours Tues-Saturday but I may use the room for other types of wellness classes when it is not in use. They are working under my company name, I am paying for their software and advertising. They are each paying monthly rent. I feel like they are steam rolling me and taking over ie-making business decisions without running them by me, changing decor, adhering a homemade yoga sign to the exterior door when I offer other types of classes too etc. I think I should have called them licensees in the 6 month contract instead of lessees. The straw that broke the camel’s back was they advertised an open house for yesterday with free yoga followed by refreshments on Facebook. I bought a Facebook ad as well for them and promoted the event to my clients via email. It was to be from 9-2. They did their 2 free classes then left at 12:30!! I want them gone. They could have tarnished my company’s rep. How do I handle this? I have been paid for February’s rent.

    • Woah. No wonder. First of all, your arrangement isn’t appropriate and it doesn’t work out in your favor for multiple reasons. If they’re renters, they’re running their own business completely. You aren’t required to provide them with anything (and you shouldn’t be for the purposes of separating your business from theirs, so nobody can make a claim to the IRS or DOL that you misclassified them). You need to understand your role as a landlord before attempting to rent to anyone. You’re putting yourself at extreme risk. (This post goes into detail about the rental arrangement.)

      Since you have a lease, you should terminate them in accordance with the eviction provisions. (If you wrote your lease yourself instead of having an attorney do it, don’t do ANYTHING until you consult with an attorney who specializes in commercial landlord/tenant law.) I cannot advise you on this, because I’m not an attorney. What I can tell you is that you’ve put yourself in a legally compromising position with regards to appropriate treatment of self-employed tenants, so be very cautious and diplomatic with how you approach the termination of the agreement.

  10. Hello I was recently in a salon as a boothrental, I am a licensed cosmetologist. For the last six months I’ve been paying $100 a week for both the weight but I never received a contract to sign stating what I was going to pay. Two weeks ago I left the salon due to drug use in the salon by The manager and a new losing a client due to a big dog in coming from the tanning salon into the hair salon. I never signed a written agreement stating what I was going to pay for bothrent or any such also I never received from them my receipts from when I swipe my card on their debit machine for my booth rent for several weeks. I after packing up and leaving the salon two weeks ago one of the other booth renters bought the salon out and I came back on that Monday. Today I received a call from the old manager asking for $400 worth a booth rent that I do not owe her but she says that I do and I want to understand is there a law or something that states that at all that I do not have to pay her the money after already paying her or is it my responsibility to still go and pay her even though things that I asked him a question for were never given or d that I do not owe her but she says that I do and I want to understand is there a law or something that states that at all that I do not have to pay her the money after already paying her or is it my responsibility to still go and pay her even though things that I asked him a question for were never given or done

    • She can try to take you to court, but she likely won’t. Filing in small claims court costs $150 or so, and she’s unlikely to win since you can prove you paid. You were on a week-to-week verbal lease. You weren’t obligated to pay monthly. When you left, the verbal agreement ended.

  11. Hi Tina, I just rent a booth vs worked at here 3 months ago. Suddenly, the owner just kicked me out of his store today because of a reason that I took ethnic hairs which he said that I didn’t do a good job on it. I have contact with him every week vs always make a payment on time. I also bought parking permit to work at here for a long time, vs he told me that he will increase my rent next moth too. I have asked him to give me 2 weeks notice but he said that he could kick me out any time he want without giving me 2 weeks or 30 days notice. During the time I worked at here, he told a girl to keep an eye on me every haircut that I did and she often complain me about my haircut in front of other clients too even the clients are really like my haircut. He also complain me that I often go to work late too. I think i’m a booth renter vs shouldn’t be treated like this. So, can I bring him to the court ?

    • You can bring anyone to court for virtually anything, but you should know what you’re trying to accomplish by doing so. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. I recommend talking to an attorney and finding out whether it would be worth it to pursue.

  12. Hi Tina,

    I’m wondering what you can tell me about booth rent and recommended work hours. For example, if our employees are booth renting but we need a certain number of employees working each day, are we able to request that somehow? We own a walk-in barbershop, so we need reliable employees there from open to close or else we couldn’t have a business however some employees come in very late or leave early without giving us notice, or take 1-2 hour lunches, which affects the whole team because the line backs up and the wait becomes hours. If an employee says they’ll be there from 10a – 6pm for example, but leaves at 5pm without letting us know they will be gone, we will be down a barber during our peak hours and the customers end up mad because of wait times. Is there anything we can do?

    Also, if we have a standard booth rental contract, week-to-week payment, do we have grounds to “evict” or ask an employee to move on if they can’t be here for the hours we need them to be or refuse to give us notice when they are modifying their hours, even though all we ask is a 12-24 hr notice so we can reasonably get the shift covered and they still do not do that.

    Thank you!

    • I’m confused. Are they employees or renters? (Here’s a post clarifying the difference between the two.)

      If you need reliable employees, you need to hire people; not rent space to them. When the workers in your business are self-employed, you don’t have the right to schedule them. Additionally, as a landlord, your business actually *isn’t* providing services to customers, it’s providing space to self-employed microsalon owners. (I’m not trying to sound bitchy, I’ve just seen a LOT of booth rental salon owners who falsely believe their business is to provide services to clients when really, their job is to provide and maintain a workspace for other business owners. You’re a small scale commercial landlord, basically. Don’t feel obligated to anyone other than the renters paying for space from you. You don’t owe clients anything.)

      To answer your question simply: unfortunately, you do not have any control over a tenant’s hours of operation whatsoever. There’s no legal way to work around that. I also highly HIGHLY advise that you stop referring to them as “employees.” They aren’t your employees, they’re your tenants. (The distinction is extremely important from a legal standpoint. You never want anyone–particularly an investigator with the IRS or DOL to think you aren’t clear on their role or yours.)

      I have a downloadable toolkit you’d likely find super useful–you can click here to see it. It covers everything a salon landlord needs to know and contains a spreadsheet to automatically determine rental prices.

      I feel your pain, though. 🙁 I’m a huge control freak, so I hate the rental model. To be sure, there are a LOT of drawbacks to being a landlord, but there are a lot of great things about it too if you thoroughly understand how to make it work for you.

      • Actually when you are a licensed professional who also happens to own the space you work in, you have an obligation to BOTH your clients and your tenants. I also own a walk in barbershop and have problems finding booth renters who are willing to be there during business hours. When someone doesn’t show up for work and the other booth renters are left in the lurch, who hears about it? Me. When someone isn’t happy with the haircut they received from of my booth renters, who hears about it? Me. When the wait is hours long and clients are upset, who hears about it? ME!!! I totally understand where Sara is coming from, and it’s very frustrating. I understand that while I legally cannot set my tenants schedules, if you are not fitting in with my business model and creating extra work (and extra headache) for myself and my other renters, I will reserve the right to terminate our agreement.

        • This comes back to one of my issues with rental–clients don’t understand the model. As a result, the salon landlord ends up being burdened with client complaints that are not theirs to bear. However, you cannot have it both ways. You can’t have the freedom and lack of responsibility associated with the booth rental model and the control that comes with the employment model, otherwise, renters will get the idea that their problems are your problems to solve.

          When they’re not busy enough, who will they blame? You.
          When they aren’t happy that another renter undercuts their prices, who will they expect to intercede? You.
          When they have a dispute with a client, who will be asked to mediate that? You.

          Salon landlords are obligated only to provide workspaces to renters. You are not their manager. You are not their business consultant. You aren’t their babysitter, advocate, or mediator. If you fail to draw that line and ensure both the clients and renters understand that fact, you’ll be expected to be all of those things, and that’s not fair to you whatsoever. If you want to have coverage, hire a few employees. You don’t get to have your cake and eat it too.

  13. Hi Tina: Thank you so much for your informative articles. I have a Eyelash Extension renter that I asked to take a client and her step daughter for me “this once” that I just couldn’t squeeze in on a day they just had to get in for a fill. Anyhow I found out a couple days later through the mom that the renter solicited their business asking if they would be interested in her going to their house to do their lashes. Then she also solicited the step daughter for drugs asking if she would be interested in a barter for pot/pills. I am embarrassed and horrified. I can’t fire her but under the circumstances, especially with the drug situation, can I consider her rental agreement null and void? My sister and I have opened this new business February 2, 2017. She is also a client of my sister. We have an employee manual for employees that this gal actually typed up for us addressing inappropriate behavior and drug use which we have suspected but this was not addressed in her contract. Do we have give her a 30 day notice?

    • You can terminate the rental agreement in accordance with the state laws in your area (if any exist), but generally, illegal behavior is a dealbreaker. Do NOT use the so-called “employee manual” for *anything.* That’s extremely inadvisable, as she isn’t an employee and the terms within it likely violate the self-employed classification (putting you in a legally perilous position). You need *leases.* (In the Salon Landlord’s Toolkit there’s a ton of information that will benefit you in terms of designing a lease and protecting yourself from legal action. An attorney will need to approve your lease, but seriously, the “employee manual” needs to be trashed immediately.)

      If she pays monthly, give her 30-day notice immediately. If she pays weekly, you generally only have to give 7-day notice. In the future, ensure your leases allow you to terminate immediately when renters are reported to engage in illegal activity. (The toolkit covers that.)

  14. Hi. I rent a room in a hair salon. I share the waiting area with another stylist who also rents her room. She refuses to close her door during services, despite having an exhaust fan, therefore smoke of products cloud into common area. Is this a violation of any sort???

    • For this, you’ll have to refer to your lease agreement and your state board regulations. I’d also recommend checking your city building codes, as most have adopted IMC standards requiring source-capture ventilation units for hair and nail professionals. Because the problem is disruptive to a common area, I would speak with the salon owner and see if she could change the lease agreements to prohibit any disruption to the common areas. A good lease should already prohibit it, but if it doesn’t already, she’d be wise to make those changes ASAP.

  15. I’m a barbershop owner and have had a barber renting a booth from me week to week with no contract for the past year.. over the past 6 months the business has grown tremendously due to some public attractions opening next door to us giving us exposure to new faces whom would normally not be on that side of town. Ive decided that instead of bringing in more booth renters I’m going to change the business layout entirely to commission based employees. When the idea was spoken about switching to a w2 employee the renter threatened to find employment elsewhere and has since been telling existing clients that he’s opening his own shop down the street. Do I have the right to terminate his lease?

    • Yessss! Good for you for making the switch! The transition will be hard, but in the long run your business will likely be better off.

      You do have the right to terminate leases at will, just so long as you provide sufficient notice. Most states don’t have commercial landlord-tenant laws, but I would recommend giving notice that corresponds to the payment schedule. (7 days of notice if they pay weekly. 30 if they pay monthly.)

  16. Hi I have a salon in which I have 4 renters… I have no contract with any of them.Its been a good relationship until lately.I rent to a Lovely Koean married couple who work very hard and really haven’t been any trouble at all.I also rent to lovely Chinese lady ….well now the Korean couple don’t like the prices the Chinese lady is charges and are demanding that I force her to increase them or restrict the amount of hrs she works.Ive tried to explain she does not work for me and I can’t tell her to do anything. I really feel that the Korean couple are being unreasonable.However I’m not getting thus…any suggestions.?.

    • The Korean couple are being unreasonable. They need to understand that it would be inappropriate and illegal for you to attempt to leverage another business owner to change their practices on their behalf. They need to learn to compete like every other business owner, by providing better quality services or finding some other way to make their business more appealing to the customers.

  17. Hi there! I own a booth rental salon and recently one of my renters left the salon (for lunch across town) for over a half hour with her client under the dryer, salon wide open, and NO ONE else working… COMPLETELY ALONE! I’ve poured through the State Board rules and regulations to find something to back up my reason to evict her, but can’t find anything. What is your advice on how I should handle this?

    • I’d terminate her lease as soon as your contract allows. (Hopefully you have a clause that allows you to sever the lease at any time for any reason.) Have your lease rewritten to prohibit professionals from leaving customers or guests in the salon unsupervised. I highly doubt you’ll have this problem ever again, but if you do, it’ll be there. I would also recommend hiring a salon coordinator to be present in the salon during all operating hours. The renters should not be in the building alone under any circumstances. It’s a huge liability for you and tremendously unsafe for them.

  18. hi tina i have a salon in losangeles all my stylist they are booth rental and they been there for long time and so far they are all happy except last year I had a new stylist started working with a bad attitude I thought It will get better but actually got worst I don’t have a lease agreement and I am trying to let her go should I give her one month verbal notice or on paper thanks

    • Do it on paper–always. I recommend handing on to her, having her sign a form acknowledging that she received it, and emailing a copy of both to her. That way you have a digital record of the signed acknowledgement and the notice.

  19. My booth renter already moved out but did not pay her booth rent. What is my next step to get her to pay through doing court paperwork?

    • I recommend starting with your county clerk’s office. Ask them whether they have an official letter or process for commercial landlords. (Colorado does, for instance.) Just understand that without a formal written lease, it’ll be difficult (if not impossible) for you to get that money back. Your only recourse may be small claims court, where you’ll have to pay a filing fee. Even if you prevail there and receive a judgement, there’s no guarantee the ex-renter will pay it.

  20. Hi Tina!

    I came across this as I am researching my own rights.

    I am a booth renter. Salon owner terminated my lease with 24 hours notice. She then got the locks changed with all my stuff in there. I informed her I would need them by a certain date and she said she doesn’t take business matters until a later date due to being off. She said I can have my things when I settle up the rest of rent.

    I then went on my own time to collect my things and drop of a check for rent.

    She claims I trespassed and she threatens pressing charges even though I did nothing wrong. I’ve already spoke with police in regards to this, so I’m not worried.

    I’d like to know, (rent was 2 days late because she said I had to physically bring it in and not mail it), is she allowed to terminate so abruptly and lock me out? Also, do you know if termination of lease is to be done by email?

    We do have a contract but it’s very vague.

    • Whether or not the abrupt termination and the way she handled the eviction was legal depends on whether or not there are any state commercial landlord/tenant laws. Very few places have them. Most rely upon contract law, which means that document tends to be the only thing protecting renters from poor treatment. If the contract is too vague, it probably isn’t sufficient to establish wrongdoing. 🙁


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