Advice
The search for a successor in a commercial lease

The search for a successor in a commercial lease

Paul Pouhin
6 min8 Jan 2020

What should you do if you want to terminate the commercial lease of your offices, but the lease imposes particularly rigid conditions for terminating it? Solutions exist such as early termination or finding a suitable successor to take over your lease.

So how do you go about it if you find yourself in such a situation in the course of your professional life, concerning your offices? We tell you everything in the following article, with all the possibilities to allow you to leave your offices before the end of your lease!

1. Why leave your offices before the end of your lease?

Do your employees find your current offices cramped? Is the surface area no longer suitable for your business? Does the location of your premises not correspond to the brand image you wish to convey? Then you need to think about moving. But you will have to terminate your commercial lease.

There may be other reasons why you have to leave your offices before the end of the contract: restructuring of your business, new needs, change of activity, etc. The unexpected and changes are part of the life of a business!

However, in a classic commercial lease known as "3-6-9", the tenant cannot take notice at any time. The real constraints of business life are difficult to reconcile with this type of contract. The duration of the lease is therefore an important factor to take into consideration at the time of signing.

With a commercial lease, the tenant can only terminate the lease at the end of a three-year period, i.e. every three years. This obligation is governed by Article L.145-4 of the Commercial Code.

The procedure is very strict since the tenant must anticipate his departure by informing his landlord by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, taking care to respect a notice period of 6 months before leaving the premises.

Despite these disadvantages, solutions exist, even within the framework of the classic lease. If you still want to leave your premises before the end of the lease or the three-year period, you have two options

  • Consider early termination with your landlord
  • Find a successor for your offices to take over your lease.

2. Searching for a successor: how do you go about it?

The first option is obviously the most desirable for you. On the other hand, your landlord may not be so keen. Unless the conditions of your current contract are particularly favourable to you, with, for example, a rent that is significantly lower than market prices, it is not in the landlord's interest to terminate your lease. Legally, you owe the landlord the rent that you have contractually agreed to pay.

If you want to save a few weeks, and you give your landlord enough notice, he or she may be willing to negotiate an early departure. However, it is likely that you will not be able to reach an amicable agreement to terminate your commercial lease early.

In this case, it is possible to look for a successor to replace you. The aim of this is to meet the needs of both the tenant and the landlord.

However, to achieve this, you need to find the ideal profile and this is not easy. Indeed, you need to find a profile that is adapted to the conditions imposed by your 3-6-9 lease contract.

Please note: this search for a successor must be requested from the landlord in writing by the tenants.

Your current lease contract imposes specific conditions, including

  • A specific monthly rent including charges
  • Specific guarantees (security deposit)
  • A business sector similar to that of the current tenant.

To help you in your search for a successor, there are solutions. The aim is for you to leave quickly enough to move to a more suitable office.

First of all, talk about your search to other people. Word of mouth is still a particularly effective way of meeting potential successors.

Today, there are also multiple communication channels on the Internet to get your message across. Classified ad sites and social networks are good ways of doing this. Think about it by specifying your conditions to save time and attract a maximum of potential candidates!

Indeed, the search for a perfect successor to replace you takes time. In the meantime, you cannot develop your business by moving into a space that is perfectly suited to your needs. The 3-6-9 lease can then be a brake on your growth, so be careful to control this risk so as not to put your business in difficulty.

If you need to leave your premises quickly, the best way to find a successor is to go through a business property consultant or "broker". This professional is an advisor specialised in this type of search and will be able to help you find the ideal successor quickly. This intervention has a cost, of course, but it will save you time and therefore money.

Practical: Deskeo is developing in the most sought-after areas such as the centre of Paris, the inner suburbs and the Part-Dieu area in Lyon. We lease space directly from the owner before renting it under an all-inclusive service contract (furniture, fittings, charges, maintenance, etc.). In this context, if you vacate a space that we may be interested in, we can take over your lease and enable you to move into your future premises more quickly.

3. What happens once your successor is found?

Once the ideal successor has been found, negotiations between the successor and the outgoing tenant begin. Several aspects are considered, such as the amount of rent and any work that needs to be done to adapt the offices to the new tenant's needs.

In this situation, the tenant cannot count on a rent-free period during the works, as is usually the case between tenant and landlord. The current tenant may then have to pay the months of rent during which his successor carries out these improvements. These costs should be anticipated if you wish to give your landlord notice before the end of your lease!

Next, you must present the successor's file to the landlord in order to obtain his approval. If the landlord agrees to rent the premises, he or she will ask the successor to sign a new lease containing the same clauses or to take over the lease.

The search for a successor is therefore a demanding step in terms of material resources (organisation, investment of time, etc.), but also in terms of financial resources (additional expenses, etc.) in the event of a departure before the end of the lease contract. Be well aware of this when you sign a commercial lease contract!

4. Is it possible to rent offices without a 3-6-9 lease?

But is it possible to rent an office without the rigid constraints of a 3-6-9 lease? Yes, with the solution offered by Deskeo.

With Deskeo, you don't sign a lease. You rent fully equipped offices under a service contract. The length of the commitment is variable, from 12 months to several years, depending on your needs. Deskeo designs the office space hand in hand with each client to adapt to their corporate culture and their needs in terms of space planning, furniture, decoration, etc. All this with flexible conditions (guarantee, commitment, notice period, etc.) adapted to all types of company, from 20 to several hundred employees.

In addition, once installed, Deskeo manages all the day-to-day operational management of the offices, freeing you from these time-consuming and repetitive tasks.

What's more, your contract is with Deskeo and not with a particular office. This is a major difference, especially if your needs fluctuate over time. Indeed, if you have grown faster than expected, Deskeo will accompany you over time and offer you new surfaces adapted to your needs...

Thus, having real flexibility when renting your professional offices allows you to concentrate on your activity, forgetting the rigid constraints of the classic lease. You evolve at your own pace, without constraints.

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