Less Notice To Terminate Lease If Home Converted To Business

Question: In 2015 we rented our old home in North Phoenix for $800 a month to my brother. There was never a written lease. Two years ago my brother moved to Chandler. My brother, however, has continued to use our old home the last two years for himself and a couple of employees in his construction business. Although my brother is current on the $800 a month rent, the rental value of the home today is $1,400 a month. How can I get my brother out of the home? My brother could easily move his construction business to his Chandler home.

Answer: When your brother moved into your old home six years ago, the home was being used as a residence. In the absence of a written lease, a residential lease is a month-to-month lease, and you would have been required to give your brother the thirty days’ written notice prior to the first of the next month to terminate this month-to-month residential lease. Now that your brother has moved to his Chandler home, and has been conducting his construction business in your old home, you and your brother have a month-to-month commercial lease. Therefore, you should only have to give your brother ten days’ written notice to terminate the commercial lease. For example, notice to your brother on March 31 would terminate the commercial lease on April 10.

Note: There are numerous statutory protections for residential tenants under the Arizona Residential Landlord Tenant Act. There is no similar comprehensive statutory protection in Arizona for commercial tenants. In fact, there are very few Arizona statutes that protect commercial tenants. For example, although most commercial leases specifically provide for a grace period after a rent payment is late, e.g., seven days, in the absence of such a grace period provision, a commercial landlord without notice or demand, can lock out a commercial tenant after five days of unpaid rent. A.R.S. §33-361.

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