I recently let go my only two employees, leaving me with an empty ~1,000 sq ft office space. The space has two smaller rooms and one open concept area (big enough to comfortably accommodate 6 or 7 people).

  • My lease will not expire for another year
  • I pay $800/month for rent
  • The office is located on a busy street with other businesses and restaurants
  • Without going into specifics, the lease is rather boilerplate (nothing fancy). And the landlord is easy going. There is a generic clause about subletting: it is only permitted with written consent of the landlord
  • The landlord is not easy going enough to let me out of the lease early
  • The office also has a bathroom and private parking

Do I have any other options besides letting the office sit vacant while I still pay rent? I work from home now so it is a useless expense. I feel like there's an opportunity somewhere (example, I've heard of shared office spaces, but not sure how well that works assuming landlord permits it).

At the risk of coming across as "too broad" I'm looking for creative but semi-practical solutions and suggestions.

If the answer is "tough luck" then so be it.

  • What country are you in? What about finding another (not sublease) tenant for the space?
    – Eric
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 22:50
  • What country are you in? Are you certain you will not need the office space again in the next year? Does your lease permit subletting? Have you spoken to the landlord? Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 22:57
  • I live in the United States.
    – Joe
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 23:17
  • Did you personally guarantee the lease? What happens if you liquidate your business entity?
    – user662852
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 12:13

3 Answers 3


This sounds obvious, but: If the landlord is easygoing, you could ask him if he's okay with you subletting the space, and then you could sublet it. Of course you may have to do some work yourself to find an appropriate tenant and make sure you're doing everything legally, but if it works, it's better than paying rent for nothing.


Generally speaking, yes, you're obliged to pay rent for the remainder of the lease term. But the landlord is obliged to mitigate damages, so if you can find a suitable tenant the landlord has to let you out of the lease.

  • 1
    Depending on country and locality. Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 22:55
  • @AnthonyMcCloskey -- yes, that's what I meant to imply by "Generally speaking," but it doesn't hurt to say it explicitly. Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 22:58

Talk to the landlord.

From his perspective, he is looking at receiving $9600 remaining on the contract, which is the amount you are looking at paying. After that, he will have a significant cost to get a new tenant in, and will likely have a gap in occupancy. Call those one month of vacancy and one month's rent of cost to get someone new in: $1600 of missed revenue.

If, for example, you offer to buy out of the lease at $1600, he will avoid that cost, and he and you will each come out well ahead.

Specific numbers depend on what his costs look like, obviously, but especially if he's easy going, he may be willing to let you out of the lease at whatever cost makes him whole.

  • An old question, of course -- but if it were today, it's probably optimistic to say that there will be only one month of vacancy for office space during COVID.
    – nanoman
    Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 22:14
  • @nanoman oh definitely. And the cost to get someone new in might be far more than a month’s rent too.
    – fectin
    Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 22:32

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