Legal Advice During Challenging Times

Can your commercial landlord stop you from changing usage?

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2023 | Real Estate Law |

Not all business ideas work out as well as hoped. Sometimes the best option is to give up and start afresh. That’s more difficult when you have a long time to go per the terms of a commercial lease, as walking away could cost you a great deal of money.

So, rather than sit and wait until your lease terms have been fulfilled, you might consider starting a new business on the same premises. Can your landlord stop you?

Sometimes they can

Let’s say you rent in an upmarket shopping mall, and your attempt to sell high-end lingerie has failed. While you could probably start selling other goods, you’ll need to check that your newly-chosen enterprise is permissible in your location. For example, some landlords don’t want people selling food and are usually within their rights to enforce such restrictions. Zoning laws might also prohibit certain activities on commercial property zoned for specific purposes.

They are not allowed to discriminate

Maybe you realize that the area is crying out for a store selling a particular type of clothing because it has a high percentage of people of a particular race or religion. If your landlord allows you to sell dresses but refuses your attempt to swap to selling chadors, jilbabs or colorful Nigerian print dresses, a court could deem them guilty of discrimination.

Can you sublet the premises?

Subletting to someone else may seem like a good solution if the landlord won’t let you do what you want. Yet, once again, they may be within their rights to stop you.

Getting legal help to examine your commercial lease contract if you find that you’re in a tough spot and could benefit from some guidance can be helpful at any point during the process of leasing commercial property.