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Enforcing Commercial Rental Agreements in Massachusetts

*****The Katz Law Group only handles commercial lease disputes. It does not represent either residential landlords or residential tenants in any legal matters.*****

A lease between a landlord and a commercial tenant is a contract that can be enforced by the landlord. In fact, when a commercial tenant breaches the rental agreement, a landlord has rights which he or she can pursue to enforce the agreement between the parties.

A tenant who breaches a commercial lease agreement should not be allowed to continue to do so. The attorneys at the Katz Law Group understand the issues that arise in these cases, and how to handle the intricacies of breach of rental agreement issues.


Massachusetts is a "landlord-friendly" state, with laws that protect the rights of landlords for providing the services they offer.

Unlike with residential leases, there are very few things that are legally required to be in a commercial lease. Massachusetts law only holds commercial leases unenforceable if they fail to adequately describe the fundamental and final terms of the agreement. To be enforceable, commercial leases in Massachusetts must include:

  • A description of the property to be leased, including its address
  • The names or business names of the landlord and the tenant

However, nearly all commercial leases should include basic details, like:

  • The amount of rent due
  • When and how rent is to be paid
  • Who is responsible for paying utilities, like electricity and water
  • The length of the lease

These terms only cover the basics, though. Every commercial lease is different, and the provisions of the agreement should reflect that. Depending on the particular circumstances of the landlord and tenant, commercial leases can also cover things like:

  • Where signs for the business can be placed on the property
  • Whether the business tenant can sublet or assign the lease
  • What activities the tenant can do on the property
  • Who is responsible for additions or upgrades to the property
  • Whether the commercial landlord will exclude potential competitors from the area
  • Lease renewal options
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Parking details

If the lease length is for more than a year, it has to be in writing to comply with the statute of frauds.


Certain issues commonly arise that break the lease or commercial rental agreement. Each of these may be the basis for enforcement of the terms of the agreement.


The most common breach of a commercial rental agreement occurs when a tenant fails to pay rent. Landlords provide a service by allowing a business owner to use property that the landlord owns. Landlords deserve the agreed-upon rent as compensation for that service. As a landlord, you can enforce your right to receive rent both in the amount and in the manner stated in the lease. If payment is not forthcoming, you can evict your commercial tenant for failing to pay rent.


Tenants have a duty not to damage the property they use for their business, besides normal wear and tear. When a commercial tenant causes significant damage to the property, eviction or other remedies may be appropriate. Damage to walls, structure, appliances, and much more can be remedied under the law.


A commercial tenant is not allowed to engage in illegal conduct on the premises. This could include, but is not limited to:

  • Using the premises for prostitution
  • Dealing drugs
  • Using the store to buy, sell, or stock stolen property
  • Manufacturing drugs
  • Sell illegal weapons

Illegal conduct by the tenant on the premises is often grounds for an eviction action.


When a commercial tenant breaches a lease, one of the possible avenues to obtain a remedy is through an eviction action. There are three main reasons a landlord can evict a tenant:

  1. Failure to pay rent
  2. Illegal conduct on the rented premises
  3. Breach of the lease agreement

Eviction is one of the most powerful tools a commercial landlord has against a non-compliant tenant. Choosing whether to use that tool is an important decision, and experienced legal counsel can help you decide whether that is the appropriate remedy for your situation.


When a commercial tenant breaches a lease or rental agreement, it is important that you, as a landlord, fully enforce your rights. Massachusetts law grants landlords different remedies including the right to evict a commercial tenant, and with experienced legal help, you can effectively protect your rights.

At the Katz Law Group, we are highly experienced in the area of rental agreement enforcement and have nearly 40 years of experience doing so. Contact us today for a consultation or call us at (508) 480-8202 if you need a lease enforced in FraminghamMarlboroughWorcester, in Middlesex or Norfolk County, or in the rest of Massachusetts. 

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