Real estate

When the lease outlives the business

January 6, 2009: 5:38 PM ET

After a business falters, its legal obligations live on - but your personal assets can be protected.

Dianne Fernanadez, Keva Juice, Vacaville, Calif.
My son and I opened a small smoothie business two years ago. We did great until the economy fell. We opened it under an LLC, and he has since bought me out. Now, he has to take money out of his personal account to support it every month. He just got a rent reduction of $600 a month, but that won't be enough. He has it for sale and has a possible offer coming through. If that falls through he is planning to close the doors. He is afraid the landlord will go after his house. I have lost my home and have nothing left, so I'm not too worried about losing my property.

What is the best way to go about getting out of this? What kind of repercussions are we facing, as we still have three years on the lease? We spent $107,000 on the build-out (new tile floors, bathrooms, etc.) as it was a brand-new complex. The landlord inherits this - does this help? The business has no loans against it as we refinanced our homes and/or paid everything in cash. Please help! More

  • Breaking the lease when your business goes bust

    Hit by the slow-down? Gotta get out? What to do when you can't pay.

    Gopal, Broomfield, Colo.
    Business hasn't been good recently at my dollar store, due to the shaky economy and high fuel prices. I'm not making enough to even pay the rent this month. If I close, I will have nearly three years still left on my 5-year lease. If I do out of business, must I still pay MORE

    Aug 8, 2008 9:37 AM ET
  • Profiting from your unused office space

    To rent out empty rooms, turn to local media and Craigslist.

    Sherri Birdsall, Gensis Medical Education Consultants, Orange, Calif.
    I work for a business that teaches continuing-education courses for nurses in Orange, Calif. Most of our classes are conducted on weekends, which means two beautiful classrooms sit completely unused most of the week. I'd like to rent them out to bring in extra money. Any suggestions on where to start?

    Jul 24, 2008 12:05 PM ET
  • Maximizing the benefits of rental properties

    Active advice on the tax implications of passive income.

    Troy L. Whitaker, Los Angeles
    I earn over $100,000 a year. Does that mean I can't deduct my rental properties' mortgage interest? As I understand it, I can only deduct it from the income I make off my renter. Is that correct?

    Jul 21, 2008 9:58 AM ET
  • What an LLC does - and doesn't - protect

    LLCs shield their members from legal claims, but the company itself still carries liability risks.

    Angela J. Thomas, ATM Investments, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    I am just starting out in the investment world and am still a bit green in understanding certain things. I purchased two investment properties in 2004 and am renting them out. This year, I created an investment LLC for them. My questions is, although I have the MORE

    Jul 17, 2008 11:36 AM ET
  • Renting space for a seasonal business

    Vikas Sawant, Highland Park, N.J.
    How should a seasonal business rent retail space for only a few months?

    Jul 8, 2008 9:49 AM ET
  • Living in a property your business owns

    You can do it - but the financial costs may be steep.

    Martin Woomer, Silverdale, Wash.
    I am thinking of buying a rental property that I may live in for a while. How do I transfer the title from my person to my business (I'm a sole proprietor)? Or is it better for my business to buy it, then have me rent it? Any suggestions? Thanks.

    Jun 13, 2008 9:37 AM ET
  • Selling out and shutting down

    Should a buyer pay more for a building if selling it would mark the end of the owner's business?

    Michael, Salem, Ore. Dear FSB: My parents have a small business and own the building in which it operates. The person next door would like to expand by buying my parents' building, and keeps asking them for a price at which they would sell. My Dad would like to retire if they sold MORE

    May 30, 2008 10:29 AM ET
  • Bank approval to bring properties under an LLC

    Andreas wants to move three properties to an LLC. Have you recently transferred properties into your business? What procedure did you follow? Fill us in.

    May 16, 2008 2:32 PM ET
  • Beware of hidden transfer taxes

    Mari asked FSB about moving her real estate properties to her business. Have you transferred real estate to an LLC or other business? What would you recommend for Mari?

    Apr 30, 2008 11:06 AM ET
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