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.
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.
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.