Provided by:Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.

March 8, 2022

Hi Jennifer, 

I have several years left on my lease, but I'm done.  If I transfer  to a third party, can I transfer my liability and otherwise?

Thanks, Dr. R

Totally depends on...the terms of your lease and the magnanimity of your landlord.   On an assignment, most landlords will let you out as original tenant if the assignee has adequate, equivalent or exceeding Net Worth as Tenant, and if there is no prohibition Tenant transfer on the underlying lease.   On the flip side, if whether to release is up to the landlord and not dictated by the lease terms themselves, and Landlord refuses, there is not much you can do with the landlord directly... what you can do is agree with the party taking over that they will take full responsibility for all financial exposure post-transfer.  

Most clients do not look at a lease as the obligation it is.  In most instances a lease becomes due in full, for the entire term, on signing, except as accommodation you may pay over the time of the lease.  And key provisions you may not be thinking of when you enter, such as assignment, may be key to your later plans.  Which, is why, especially with a real property lease, never sign without having  a lease negotiated by counsel.