Can I get out of my commercial lease if circumstances at my current location have been detrimental to my business?

4 months ago I opened a massage studio, 1 month ago my neighbor who owns the fruit shop next door (we are in a small 4 plex unit) had about 8 DEA cars show up and take her and her workers to jail for selling heroin. 1 week later she returns, I have some clients that know her that won’t come back they say for there safety because she “snitched”. This also was placed on-line, 1 of my major promoting sites and now new clients do not want to come in saying they feel unsafe.

Asked on July 22, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the other store is owned by the landlord, you may have grounds to get out of the commercial lease, since the landlord would be interfering with your business. However, if the other tenant (the neighbor) is independent of or not connected to the landlord, it is very unlikely that this would provide grounds to terminate the lease. The landlord is not responsible for the criminal actions of this tenant, any more than he is responsible if the area generally experienced an upsurge in crime, or if a competitor moved in across the street, or the city closed off the roads for repairs. If the landlord is complying with his obligations, the actions  of another party will probably not provide grounds to break the lease.

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