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Forced Relocation

Roxanne Langley

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Sep 14, 2000
Woodlands, TX
Well, just when you think it couldn't happen to you, it does. My landlord called yesterday afternoon and informed me that the building that I'm in will be converted to office space instead of retail and he has given me 24 hours to find a new location and 30 days to relocate.

So this morning I have messages left with all the neighboring vacancies and awaiting calls, have a couple of appointments over the next couple of hours to look at places close by, so I have the ball rolling on that part.

My question to you is: I need to make this as easy as possible, painless and actually even exciting and fun for my clients so that I don't lose any of them. Because time is of the essence I need all suggestions as to how to announce this and the key to this, not lose business. So other than the proverbial postcard announcing the move, how about any and all cutesy, clever and serious ideas. Believe me nothing is too off the wall at this point. And since my plate overfloweth currently I'm sure I'm forgetting to think of some things.

Thanks and we'll keep you posted,
Do you have a lease now in force?

Even if you do not, 30 days in mid month is not acceptable. Most state require 30 days from the day that your rent is due (typically the first of the month). So at the least you have until June first.

P.S. I would check with an attorney as well.
How can he give you 24 hours to find a new location?
I don't understand why its any of his business as to where you relocate, but from the looks of it I would put up a big sign in the window:


Then follow up with a mailer announcing your new location and have a party for your clients! People will come to parties!
Don't forget to schedule a ribbon cutting with your local Chamber of Commmerce. They do a mailer of their own that reaches alot more then you can and is usually pretty cheap.
And maybe you could get your local newspaper to write an article on the fact that you are being force to move. They might find it interesting and that would be free advertising.

Also be sure you can put a sign or note on the door of this building explaining where you are. Also, when the new tenants move in, leave your business cards with them in case someone missed the move and is looking and asking about you.

That's all I can think of right now, but the mailer is going to be your biggest thing but I would run some sort of promotion with it.

Good luck,
Maybe your new location will be even better.

I would have a "GRAND REOPENING because my ex-landlord is a moron SALE".
Hi Roxanne-If I remember correctly, you had done some good research on new site location awhile back. Put your efforts into getting that better location, then worry about notification.

You will lose some, distance is always a factor. But, with a better location, you might easily pick up more new than lose old

If you will be in Austin end of next week, I'll sit down with you. Timing aside, this might be just the "push" you needed

Jerome-Bet that landlord is within his rights. She may be on a month to month or some other arrangement. She didn't go into details, but I suspect that spending time or money on her attorney might be a waste of both.

But, if she has a lease in force, I cannot imagine a landlord making such a demand
I believe this kind of notification should be (!?) in writing... from the date of the lease or month to month timing... yikes - I don't envy you - but it will all work out for the best - I am certain. What a moron this guy must be.
How about a moving special? For every one of your customers who come down and help you move they get half off on their next framing job?
you have a current mailing list??? how aout combining a 'new digs' notice with a grand opening special fof all past customers..... and how about getting the s.o.b. to allow u to put up a largish sign/bannor, in FRONT of the bldg, &/or in the window(s) about the new location ... least they could do
Roxanne, did you answer the question about a lease? Did I miss it?

If you have a typical lease, then you have rights. If you had a lease, but it has expired, then the provisions of that agreement might still apply -- that's how it is in Ohio.

If you don't have any kind of written lease agreement, then I'd bet you'll have one with your new landlord, won't you?

A lease agreement is beneficial to both parties, not only one. This is a perfect case in point.
If you stop paying the rent, you would have 90-120 days before he can evict you. Based on your states laws, there are limits to what he can do, and when.

I wonder if the new tenant knows what he is doing to you? Do they approve?

I wonder if there even is a new tenant.
Thanks guys, actually I like the idea of clients help with the move and I frame for them at a discount later. Very catch!

Sorry it's taken me longer to get back onto the computer, so far I've looked at 5 places today and 4 won't work at all. I'm off to look at a couple of more right now so I'll report more tomorrow. In the meantime keep the ideas coming.

As to the lease situation after the first couple ofyears with these people, they didn't have me sign a new lease, said nothing was changing as to rent amount, etc so for the last couple of years I haven't had anything to worry about. Okay Bob, now you can hit me over the head. In 17 years of business I've never had this happen so dummy me got caught this time. Won't happen again,

So, more tomorrow!
The provisions of your original -- now expired -- lease might still be in force. Have a look at it, and if there's anything in there that might save you, consult a lawyer.

I have no idea how it is in your state, but by Ohio law, you would have the upper hand in this situation.

IMHO, if a $200 lawyer visit results in your old landlord paying to move you to a new space, it's a great investment. And if your old lease is as tight as most of mine have been, he would also have to pay for your new buildout.

If I were you, I would have responded with an immediate and emphatic NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT, FORGET IT to his demand that you find a new place in a day. That is absurd. It could take a month for you to find a suitable place, and another month or two to prepare the move.

I wouldn't have much sympathy for the pushy landlord. Just because he says you have to drop everything and move out doesn't necessarily mean you have to do it -- at least maybe not on his terms. What can he do if you drag your feet? Evict you? As mentioned earlier, that would take him months. He would be smarter to inspire your cooperation.

You will suffer an unexpected, unplanned, and costly disruption of your business, not counting the buildout & moving expenses. That is a legitimate loss, and he should compensate you for it.

Don't be bullied. :mad:
Down here in Australia, if you refuse to pay your rent, the landlord can lock you out of the premises.....then how would you get your work done...or get you stuff back???

You are probably better off being far away from this landlord!
Originally posted by osgood:
Down here in Australia, if you refuse to pay your rent, the landlord can lock you out of the premises...

It is notable that, so far as we know, Roxanne has met her obligations and is not at fault here. The landlord's action seems to be unprovoked and unjustified.

In most US states, the process leading up to that action requires several weeks of legal wrangling for the landlord. Indeed, eviction usually takes longer than the time he's suggested to our friend Roxanne.
Originally posted by Jim Miller:
The provisions of your original -- now expired -- lease might still be in force. Have a look at it, and if there's anything in there that might save you, consult a lawyer.
Exactly, your situation is very familiar to me, I got a similar phone call on Christmas Eve some years ago. We were outside the lease (signed by a former owner of the business) and it held fast when push came to shove and we got another month out of them.

Although we did still have to move fairly fast to get organised it turned out to be the best thing that could have ever happened (600² foot or so into about 6,000 still makes me shudder). Sleepless days are bound but keep firm and take Bobs advice, upward and onward you have been given the opportunity!!!
Progress report to date:

I did in fact speak with an attorney late yesterday and according to him, I can drag my feet somewhat and have him issue a formal notice in writing (which I'm going to do)and then legally before he can even file an eviction notice I have a minimum of 45 days, more if it gets dragged out between attorneys. That made me feel better, not to say I'm still frazzled.

The good news is that everyone that I met with yesterday was absolutely so generous and easy to work with, it was overwhelming. They all know my current landlord and let's just say that he's not on the top of their Christmas list.

But last night around 6 pm I was actually over looking at one location (totally won't work) and ended up looking at an old Victorian House in the same shopping area that they wanted to show me. I've always admired and loved this place and in my wildest dreams never imagined I could have the gallery in someplace like this. Currently I'm waiting on a call back from him and the negotiations will start after I do another walk through, measure and see if I can visually place the framing and gallery in there.

Rick, you are so right about this next lease. I'm not only watching for every paragraph and sub-paragraph but there will be options for 1st right of refusal for future lease and/or purchase of the building. The attorney I spoke is going to go over it with me if the new possible landlord and I strike a bargain.

I'll tell you guys one thing, in all my years I never imagined something like this could happen and if I've learned anything, it's not to take my business lease information for granted and think that just because I may be a good person to them that they will be one to me.

I'm still keeping you posted and I'll let you know what happens next.