If my wife went into business with someone else then sold her half of the business to the other co-owner, is she legally still on the hook for business?

My wife owned a salon. She went halves with her sister but then after a few years decided to get rid of her share of the business to her sister. They leased a space and we asked to get taken off the lease. Is my wife still legally bound to that lease even though she’s not part of it?

Asked on June 5, 2012 under Business Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your wife would likely still be legally bound to the lease unless the landlord agreed to let your wife off it--to remove someone from a lease requires the consent of all parties to the lease, including the landlord.The landlord doesn't care what's happening with the business--all he cares about is getting his rent from whomever is on the lease, which is legally entitled to.

However, if the sister agreed to take over the lease from your wife, your wife may be able to enforce that agreement, such as by suing the sister for your wife's share of the rent, if the landlord tries to recover the rent from your wife or your wife has continued paying it.

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