Can I break my commercial lease if there are no clauses or provisions in the lease agreement?
3 attorney answers
Since commercial leases are usually written by the landlord, they are usually favorable to the landlord. Beyond the basics of the UCC, contract law is usually "common law" (court cases comprising precedents). See Magnussen v. Tawney, 109 Wn. App. 272, 34 P.3d 899 (2001).
Probably your best bet as a practical matter is to find somebody else to lease the premises, either as a sub-lease, assuming the current lease, or leasing it at an increased rate. At any rate, negotiating an agreement is often more economically feasible than litigating a matter. There are some talented attorneys who do negotiations, and some talented litigators. Good luck.
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I would agree with the previous answer. I'd also add that almost certainly there are provisions in the lease stating that you do not have the right to terminate early, they might just be hard to recognize. Generally, there is a "default" section or similar section that outlines the landlord's remedies if you do not abide by the lease terms generally, though that section may not specifically point to moving out as a breach. Leases also often contain a clause that make just the act of moving out a breach (even if you keep paying rent), and that is usually referenced in the lease as "abandonment," which term can be misleading. While it is true that there are not many specific statutes governing commercial leases (as there are with residential leases), the general statutes and case law governing contracts still apply. So if you clearly agreed in the lease to rent the space for a certain time period, then the landlord can likely pursue you for breach of that contract if you leave early regardless of the lack of any statute specifically saying that moving out is a breach and regardless of whether the lease itself specifically says it is a breach. That being said, you can often negotiate your way out of the lease by presenting the "breach" as a win-win for you and the landlord. That is particularly true if you signed the lease when rents were lower. It would be a good idea to discuss this with an attorney who knows specifically about commercial leasing, as the consequences can be severe if you breach the lease.
The short answer is that if the lease does not contain any early termination provisions, or if you do not meet the criteria of the early termination provisions, then you can be held liable for the rent you would have paid through the remainder of the lease, and likely attorneys fees accrued in any action to get those fees from you.
This may be mitigated if the Landlord relets the space prior to the end of your lease term, which could reduce or eliminate your rent liability, but in my experience, commercial landlords do not always try terribly hard to do this if they believe you have the ability to pay.
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