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November 8, 2015

How to Exit a Commercial Property Lease without Making Mistakes

Property lease agreementThe business environment in most cases is extremely dynamic and fiercely competitive. It is not unusual for business to fold up even after making a great start. Many retail businesses need to keep on experimenting with location, and hence may be found to be closing down one store only to open up another one somewhere else. The reason for wanting to terminate commercial property leases can be varied; the business at that location could be bleeding money, or the demographics may have changed substantially, or the competition may have been too hot. Businesses need to enter into commercial leases for property all the time and may also need to foreclose them a lot many times too. Before walking out of the lease, you should carefully consider a number of things:

What Do You Really Want?

Closing a business at a particular location could often be the solution that is obvious but one that is not necessarily always right. Before even attempting to discuss the lease termination, be sure that you have considered every option available to you. If the reason for moving out is a need for more space, then your landlord could come to your rescue with offer for a fresh space and facilitate the lease termination. It is also important to evaluate if the necessity of terminating the lease is born out of personal circumstances rather than commercial ones. It is important for you to understand the real reasons for the change as this will give you a platform for effectively negotiating with the landlord.

Quantify Lease Termination Benefits

The option of terminating your lease can only be beneficial if the savings you get out of it is more than the compensation required to be paid to the landlord. The only way you can arrive at a rational decision is if you can quantify the value accruing to you so that you do not end up paying more than what you are benefiting by. One way of calculating the benefit is by finding the difference between the net profits expected to be delivered by the new location over the old one. If the reason for lease termination is to get time to attend to personal issues, then you would need to establish if the monetary loss on account of the termination is more than offset by what you are trying to achieve after you close down your business.

Identify the Landlord’s Financial Impact

To ensure that you are able to negotiate to good lease termination it is also necessary for you to establish the impact of the termination on the landlord. The most obvious is that he would lose out on the lease rentals till such time he can get a new tenant to occupy the space and start paying the rentals. If the business environment is down, then he may not get the same rental as what you had been paying, however the opposite could be equally true if the space is commercially attractive. Lease termination negotiation goes better of you can get an idea of the redeployment opportunities available to the landlord.

Compensate Your Landlord

Among the ways you can add value to the solving the landlord’s predicament is find creative solutions to what the landlord could do with the space becoming available. If you have been able to assess the location constraints that led to your business failing and how other business can thrive in the same property, you may be able to convince the landlord to change the usage of the space and get a better income stream. You could also tap the local real estate brokers for market information, including the duration that the landlord is likely to take to find a new tenant and the sort of rentals he can expect to derive out of his property. You could also try and identify a prospective tenant for him who can take over your lease. There are a number of internet resources that you can take the assistance of to locate a prospective lessee.

Nancy Mulligan is the senior business reporter at one of the top financial dailies. She periodically writes on trends in commercial real estate and financing. She also consults for leasequit.com.

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