Most of the time you’ll stay in your space until the lease ends. But what hap­pens when your busi­ness doesn’t work out? You’re still on the hook for the entire term of the lease. If you default, then the land­lord can more than likely ter­mi­nate the lease and accel­er­ate the total amount of the remain­ing rent. So it’s hardly ever a good idea to vacate the lease. But you can include some clauses that will soften the blow. And you can always try to rene­go­ti­ate the lease.

Sub­lease or Assignment

You can find some­one to take over your lease. If you sub­lease, it’s as if you’re still rent­ing the place in the eyes of the owner. Your sub­lease is just between you and the sub­lessor. You’re still on the hook for rent and every­thing else. How­ever, if you assign the lease, then you step back and the party to whom you assigned the lease works directly with the landlord.

Gross Sales Trigger

You can try to nego­ti­ate a pro­vi­sion that allows you to ter­mi­nate the lease if your gross sales fall below a cer­tain number.

Option to Reduce Space

You can try to nego­ti­ate an option that allows you to reduce the rented space at a later date.

Going Dark

You can try to nego­ti­ate the right to go dark. If it makes more sense for you to shut down your busi­ness, then a go dark right allows you to close the doors with­out trig­ger­ing a default in your lease. Then you can pay the monthly rent and look for some­one to sub­lease or assign your lease. You’ll want to con­sider pre­vent­ing an anchor ten­ant from going dark.

Key Per­son

If a key per­son in your busi­ness dies, then your estate might be stuck with the lease oblig­a­tion with­out a viable busi­ness to main­tain the lease. You can ask the land­lord to agree to ter­mi­nate the lease if a key per­son dies.

If an anchor ten­ant moves or goes dark, then you may want to con­sider ask­ing for the right to reduce rent or ter­mi­nate the lease until the land­lord finds a suit­able replace­ment that brings in the right type of customer.