I want out of my lease

I am the owner of a failing hair salon, I have 2 years
left on my lease. ACF property mngmnt said I cant get
out of it or renegotiate it and if I leave it will
simply be sent to their legal department. I am a sole
proprietorship. Is there any way I can get out and if I
leave will they come after my house?

Asked on March 22, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) There is no way out unless you can show that the landlord committed fraud (lied to you before you signed, to get you to sign) or is breaching (violating) their obligations under the lease in some significant or "material" way. Only the landlord's wrongdoing, not any other issues, problems, concerns, etc., will let you out of the lease.
2) If the business is a sole proprietorship, then you are personally liable: you can be personally sued for the full amount of rent due for the entire remaining term or period of the lease (and possibly also for the landlord's legal bills or attorney fees, if the lease lets them them get--lease or contractual provisions requiring party A to pay for party B's legal bills are enforceable).
3) If they sue you and win and you don't pay, they could potentially put a lien on your house to collect their judgment. 
You may wish to try to sublet or assign (get someone to take over) the lease, if the terms of the lease don't forbid this--even if you have to do so at some loss, it may be a better outcome. Or try to negotiate an early exit with the landlord: maybe if you pay some number of months of upcoming rent up front, they will let you out of the lease. (If you do come to an agreement with them, put it in writing.)

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