Can I void a commercial lease?

Asked almost 2 years ago - West Chester, PA

I purchased a franchise and, assisted by the franchisor's realtor, signed a commercial lease. Subsequently discovered that the franchisors had run previous failed franchise systems using different personal names, none of which was disclosed in the FDD. Their "master broker" realtor was also involved in those schemes and knew that most franchisees had failed but failed to disclose that fact to me. I filed a court claim against the franchisor, was forced to go to mediation, and won a settlement which the franchisor has failed to pay. I can't support the business any longer and would like to like to void the lease based on the fact that had I been made aware of any of the negative information I would not have purchased the franchise nor entered into any legal aggrements.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Nancy L. Lanard

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . As a franchise and commercial lease attorney, I can tell you that what you have described certainly seems to give rise to a great claim against the franchisor. If the franchisor is located in a state like NY or CA that requires that the FDD be registered with the state or one which has a state franchise law (unlike PA, which does not), you might want to notify the state's Attorney General's office.

    Unfortunately, the lease is an entirely separate legal document and independent of the fraud or misrepresentations of the franchisor UNLESS the landlord is also the franchisor. If the landlord is an independent 3rd party, the franchisor's wrongful deeds will not provide an opportunity to terminate the lease.

    With that said, my firm has a great deal of experience in terminating commercial leases. I would be happy to discuss your situation with you if you want to call me (215-525-1165 x101).

    Please understand that this reply is merely generic and that you have not provided sufficient facts for me to render a specific opinion about your exact situation. This reply does not create an attorney-client relationship.

    This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to provide legal advice for your... more
  2. Alfred M. Abel

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

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    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I'd have to see the lease to be sure, however, but it would be very unusual for a commercial tenant to be able to void a lease. A more likely outcome would be that you vacate the premises, and they sue for back rent, and you defend and make counter claims for misrepresentation, fraud and other claims that reduce or eliminate you obligation to pay.

    Please mark this as a good answer or best answer, and submit a reivew for me on AVVO if this answer has been helpful.

    This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does... more

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