Physically Absent Tenant Can Still Hold Over After Lease Expires
What Happened: At first it looked as though the tenant had found a buyer for his dental practice to whom it would assign the lease just as it was expiring on Dec. 31, 2019. But the deal fell through, and the tenant sent the landlord an email in February notifying it of his decision not to renew the lease. Although the dentist had moved out of the space in December, he left behind filing cabinets, chairs, TV monitors, computers, a telephone, and other personal items. So, the landlord billed him $49,419 in holdover rent. When the tenant refused to pay, the landlord sued. After losing in the lower court, the tenant appealed.
Ruling: The Virginia appeals court upheld the lower court ruling.
Reasoning: The landlord was justified in concluding that the tenant had held over after the lease expired. The personal property that the tenant left behind, including dental equipment, was evidence that the practice was continuing to operate, even though the dentist didn’t actually treat any patients on the premises in 2020. Tenants can hold over even after they physically leave the premises, the court reasoned. The “court was not plainly wrong in finding that the continued presence of [tenant’s] property on the premises constituted a holdover of the lease.”
- Greater Wash. Endodontics, P.C. v. Plaza Off. Realty I LLC, 2023 Va. App. LEXIS 823, 2023 WL 8587695