Options when trying to exit a commercial lease early

It’s a well-known fact that running a business is never easy. As a business owner, one of your responsibilities is taking care of your business space, especially if you’re only renting it. However, there could be times when you might want to get out of a commercial lease earlier than intended.

Getting out of a commercial lease is possible, but it can be challenging. Since commercial properties and buildings are rented for a long period, you can’t simply get out of it for no reason. Commercial lease agreements usually include multiple clauses and conditions, making it harder to end a lease suddenly; and it’s hardly ever that simple as making a call or sending an email to terminate it.

If you’re planning to get out of a commercial lease earlier than your contract’s expiration, here are some options to consider:

1. Surrendering the Lease

If you’re planning to get out of your commercial lease agreement early, surrendering the lease is one solution. When you surrender the lease, you surrender the entire business contract, which means that the business owner doesn’t own the premises anymore. If you get the landlord’s consent, you can surrender the commercial lease agreement, meaning the landlord is free to rent the premises to another interested party.

Here are some reasons why you might want to surrender the commercial lease agreement:

  • Change in Business Plan – If you’re planning to turn your business into a franchise or change its structure, you can surrender the commercial lease agreement and start with a new one.
  • Change in Location – If you’re planning to move your business to another location, you can surrender the commercial lease agreement with the landlord and negotiate with him to move the current premises to another location.
  • Change in Tenancy – If you’re planning to change your tenancy to a new tenant, you can surrender the commercial lease agreement with your current landlord and allow the new tenant to move in.
  • Cancellation of Lease – If you’re unhappy with the landlord or any parties involved in the commercial lease agreement, you can surrender the lease and look for another property owner.

2. Early Termination Clause

An early termination clause in your commercial lease contract provides an option for you to terminate the contract early. It’s similar to the early termination clauses in residential lease agreements, except that it’s specifically written for commercial leases.

Let’s say you want to get out of the lease agreement a year before your contract expires. You can do that by making an early termination clause. The early termination clause will have specific details on the process of getting out of the contract early. It’ll also require you to pay individual penalties if the early termination clause is unavailable in the agreement.

3. Assignment of Lease

Assignment of lease is a process where a current leaseholder assigns the commercial lease to a new leaseholder. This requires the approval of the current landlord, but as long as you can pay the penalties and other fees required by the landlord, you can assign the lease to a new tenant. This is another way to terminate a commercial lease agreement early. You can assign the commercial lease to an interested party and make them move into the current premises.

For example, let’s say you’re a landlord interested in getting early termination of your commercial lease agreement. You can assign it to another tenant who agrees to pay the penalties and move into the current leaseholder’s place. This will be allowed by the current leaseholder and the landlord because it’s the only way you can terminate the existing lease.

4. Subletting the Premises

Subletting refers to the process of you renting the premises to a third party. This third party will be responsible for paying the rent and other fees because they now own the contract. There are times when subletting the commercial lease is allowed. If the landlord approves of it, you can sublet the space to a third party who will be responsible for paying the rent and other penalties.


Getting out of a commercial lease agreement earlier than intended is not impossible. By considering the aforementioned options, you might be able to terminate your commercial lease agreement quickly and, possibly, with minimal penalties. Remember to discuss things with your landlord, and you may be able to do it successfully. Also, whenever you need help selling a business, remember that solicitors at Bickell and Mackenzie can help you. Our legal professionals ensure your legal affairs are handled correctly. Reach out today to book a consultation by calling our office at (07) 3206 8700 or visiting us at the Redland Bay Shopping Village, if you’re in the area.




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