breaking a commercial lease

We have been in business for 23 years and with the economy the way it is I do not think we can continue anymore. Our sales have dropped almost in half and I can not keep up with the bills anymore. Our 7 year lease will be over in Feb 2010 but I do not think I can hang on until then. I have tried to talk to the landlord but they do not care even though they have lost 7 tenants in the last 15 months. I might just stop paying the rent until they throw us out I hate to do this but feel I have no other choice. Any advice?

Are you a corporation?..Did you sign a personal guarantee?..You may still be on the hook for the lease even if you get thrown out…If you get behind on your rent, your landlord may seize your equipment…Back to school time might provide a little bump to get you to Christmas shopping season…Can you hang in a little longer?..

Leases are can be very complex. You should speak to a lawyer where you are from to see what your options are

What about selling the business for the value of the equipment and keep your fingers crossed that the new owner can stay in business for the next 6 months. Craigslist and Ebay are good places to advertise this. What do you have to lose?

You have been in business 23 years but can not survive a soft economy until next Feb? That is six months away. If I were the LL I would skeptical of that and insist that you pay the rent.

Your best bet may be to sell the business cheap and quick.