Nothing is guaranteed in life -- especially where business is concerned. A shift in the local economy, a change in your personal circumstances, even new developments in technology can suddenly bring a once-thriving small business to a sudden halt.
If that happens, one of the biggest liabilities you may face is your commercial lease. You may think that you're simply stuck -- no matter what your situation. However, there are a number of different possible ways to end a commercial lease early.
Early termination clauses
When's the last time you looked at your commercial lease? The odds are it was when you signed it, however long ago that was. Going out of business may have been the furthest thought from your mind.
Pull out your lease and look at it. Don't be surprised if your lease addresses the need for an early termination. It will likely spell out the procedure and any penalties. However, those could be far less than what you'd end up paying by remaining in your current position.
Subletting the lease
Your lease may give you the option of subletting to another commercial tenant. If you do, it may be possible to find someone willing to take over the remainder of your lease.
You may even find a series of short-term renters if you look for places that need a location to operate a pop-up in order to clear out old inventory, run a special, handle a big event, or test out a new product. Electronic stores, holiday stores and tax agencies all make use of these kinds of short-term rentals.
Negotiation with the landlord
Your landlord is also in business. Meet your landlord on that level and explain what is happening to your business and why. Discuss the possible benefits of letting you out of your lease early from your landlord's perspective.
For example, if you're stuck, you may have to let the storefront go dark because of a lack of operating funds. That could ultimately lower the value of your landlord's property and drive down interest in the place. If your landlord can find a thriving tenant to take over your spot, it's probably better for his or her business as well.
It can take some negotiating with your landlord to get out of a commercial lease early, but it's usually possible with the right approach. A Florida attorney experienced with landlord-tenant cases can help.