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Steven Weber, Partner, Weber Law, Miami

As the popularity of e-commerce continues to rise, some retailers are pressured to close brick and mortar stores or convert them into other uses. This trend may affect commercial landlords who must then respond to protect their own rights related to the retail space. Usually it is the commercial lease that will set forth the availability of any relief or protection when a tenant seeks to close its stores, as recently happened in a case involving Starbuck’s Teavana.

Some commercial leases have provisions that govern when a tenant may cease or even change their operations. Specifically, commercial leases may include “continuous operations” provisions that prevent a tenant from ceasing or changing operations prior to the expiration of the lease. Commercial landlords are well advised to review their existing leases to ensure that they are protected when faced with a tenant who wishes to cease its operations. Commercial tenants should understand what is allowed under the lease when stores have or will likely become unprofitable or whose continued operations are otherwise undesirable.

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