Stop Wasting Your Business’ Money: Attorney Jack Garson Provides Tips on Finding the “Escape Hatch” in Your Lease
Most people view business leases as something they can never get out of. Thankfully, with a little ingenuity and a good attorney, there are ways to plot your escape from an otherwise binding property lease. In his latest Huffington Post article, “How to Get Out of a Bad Lease,” attorney Jack Garson provides these lease extraction strategies if you find yourself in a bad situation:
Find a technicality. You’d be surprised how many landlords cue up a seemingly solid lease but then leave out a critical piece of information. This is one time that reading the fine print really can work in your favor.
If something smells rotten, it probably is. If you are subjected to unacceptable working conditions – unreasonably loud construction nearby, water leaking into your place of business, erratic heating and cooling systems that result in your employees wearing their winter coats inside the office – simply take out your iPhone and record what’s going on. Evidence of unacceptable conditions, when coupled with solid case law, can be just the right combination for terminating your lease.
Cut your losses. Feel like you’ve got nothing left to lose? Then leave. Garson sometimes advises clients to shut down their current business and form a new business elsewhere. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s an option when all else fails.
Bankruptcy, of course, provides a well-known escape hatch. Generally, a tenant can terminate a lease in bankruptcy and limit its liability to one year’s rent – sometimes less -but it’s an expensive and intrusive option. The tenant spends a small fortune and needs approval for most business decisions, paralyzing operations and putting the company in a death spiral.
With advanced planning and skillful legal advice, you can dramatically enhance your ability to build escape hatches into your leases and engineer a pain free exit, if it comes to that. There is always a way out of a lease, Garson suggests, but you have to know where to look for it.