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What to do when you must break a commercial lease

Commercial leases protect both the property owner and the business owner. But there are times when it may be necessary to break your commercial lease. Below are some tips for getting out of a commercial lease with the least amount of financial liability.

Understand the terms of the lease

Ideally, you will have let your business law attorney thoroughly review the lease and its terms before you ever signed it. But if you are looking to get out of the lease now, that is the first place that you should start. Your attorney may discover that your landlord has already breached the lease one or more times, which could make it nearly painless for you to break the lease.

Offer to sublet the property

Typically, landlords are much more inclined to honor commercial tenants' requests to break their leases if the tenants can recommend another business tenant to take their place.

Negotiate over the terms of the lease

Maybe you agreed to pay $1,500 rent, but summer is the slow season for your business and you are barely breaking even. It doesn't hurt to ask if your landlord is willing to accept $1,000 per month for a couple of months in order to give you some breathing room.

Your landlord might also be willing to shorten the lease or waive penalties if you reach out to them and ask. But you'll never know unless you try.

Give written notice

Once you've determined that you must break the lease, put it in writing to your landlord with as much notice as possible. You want to do all that you can to reduce the time the landlord's property sits empty to avoid being held financially liable for the leased space after you leave the premises.

Leave the space in good repair

Make sure that you thoroughly clean the premises and repair any damage that occurred while you occupied the space. Any breach of the terms can be used as justification for keeping your security deposit, so give the landlord no reasons.

Keep your attorney in the loop

While you might be able to get out of the lease by negotiating with the landlord, it's a good idea to loop in your business law attorney and cc them with any emails or letters related to your breaking a commercial lease.

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