• Seek prejudgment possession of the premises. This is particularly important if there are concerns about collecting amounts due under the lease. Possession prior to final judgment expedites re-letting the premises and mitigating possible losses.
  • If possible, file in small claims court. If the amount in dispute is less than $6,000, don't waste time filing a lawsuit in a court of full jurisdiction. Small claims court is faster and cheaper. Moreover, small claims courts have a lot of experience with landlord-tenant disputes and, because they routinely deal with tenants who have defaulted on leases, these courts can be particularly sympathetic to a landlord.
  • Obtain a receiver over the disputed property. If the rental property has value because of the activity that occurs on the property — for example, a health club where the landlord is also renting the tenant workout equipment — it may be useful to seek appointment of a receiver to operate the facility while seeking a new tenant.
  • Obtain a writ of attachment. Often, the tenant's primary assets may be the personal property at the rental property. For example, a restaurant tenant's primary asset may be the equipment at the restaurant. If the tenant is otherwise unable to pay its obligations under the lease and there is risk that the tenant will seek to dispose of or abscond with the property, a writ of attachment can attach the property pending final resolution of the landlord's claim.
  • If the lease permits, accelerate all the indebtedness due under the lease. Even if the likelihood of collection of the full amount due under the lease is not good, it still makes sense to maximize the available damages. There may be other parties against whom the judgment is collectible.
  • As and after obtaining a judgment for damages, consider other parties who may be liable for the tenant's obligations. Tenants can often be a shell corporation that is part of a larger business enterprise. If, for example, a party other than the tenant is using the premises without a sublease authorized by the landlord, there can be an argument that both the tenant and the actual occupant are liable.