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Early termination of commercial lease in Washington state?

Seattle, WA |

In June of 2009 I signed a 5 year commercial lease for my business in my name (not my business name it was required by landlord). Shortly after my husband was laid off from his job. He has been looking locally for a job ever since and not found one. He found a job, but it means a move for our family and to either sell, close or move our business. My business is thriving with me working there 5 days a week but if I hired it all out I would cut my income to the point where it wouldn't be worth staying in business. On top of everyting we have several maintenance concerns with the building that are not being addressed despite numerous written requests. Can I get out of my lease agreement early...strategically what is the best thing for me to do?

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Attorney answers 2


Commercial Lessees have only what rights are granted in the lease and unless you can show the landlord is in breach of the lease as written you may be liable for the rent and attorney’s fees until the space is re-rented or the lease is terminated. You should be honest with your landlord about the situation, and work towards a mutually agreeable solution.

Good Luck


I suggest you look into selling your business and assigning the lease to the buyer. The terms of your lease may specify whether that would require the landlord's consent and/or would still leave you responsible (along with the buyer) for the tenant's compliance. I have worked with others who have sold businesses for this purpose.

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