For this article, we will look at a specific scenario. Let's say that you signed an agreement for a private office in a coworking facility in California.
Although you signed that agreement yesterday, the term of that agreement does not begin for another three weeks.
Today you discovered that you can get a better deal on an office from another landlord. So, you want to terminate the agreement you just signed yesterday.
Can you get out of a lease that has not started yet?
Given that the term of the agreement has not yet arrived, you decide to pitch your termination request to the coworking company as follows:
Since the term of the agreement has not yet begun, my notice of termination to you today should still give you time to find a replacement tenant for the office I had previously agreed to lease.
The coworking company does not find your pitch persuasive. So, they decline to let you out of the agreement early. The question then becomes, even if the coworking company does not agree...
Can you still get out of the lease early?
To begin our analysis of your situation, we need to add a few more details for consideration.
- When you signed the agreement, the coworking company immediately charged your credit card for the first month's fee plus a retainer equal to two months worth of fees--for a total of 3x your agreed upon monthly fee.
- So, in trying to terminate the agreement early, you also want to recover that money you have already been charged.
- Since the term of the agreement has not yet begun, the coworking company has not yet rendered any service to you.
In declining your termination request, the coworking company explains their position as:
You signed the agreement. It cannot be canceled early, and it can only be canceled in accordance with the agreements terms and conditions.
Implicit in the coworking company's position is the premise that the agreement you signed is a valid contract that is binding on you.
So, that is the key premise you decide to focus on...