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
- 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.