The identity and financial status of the tenant is always a matter of concern for the landlord and therefore most leases (apart from long leases) contain provisions to restrict the tenant from transferring the premises to a third party. These restrictions are generally either qualified or absolute in some way, usually by providing that a transfer can be there but only with the landlord’s consent which cannot be withheld unreasonably. A tenancy can be transferred in a number of different ways. Subletting is a common method; transfer of a tenancy by assignment is another. The tenant could also part with occupation or possession.

A tenant occupying commercial premises would often plan to sublet a part or the whole of his premises and there is bound to be some issues between a tenant and his landlord about the sub-tenant or the time the landlord takes to decide if he is willing to consent to the subletting.

Disputes over illegal subletting etc. often escalate to proceedings with landlords claiming injunctions to set aside sub-leases and at times (although unusually) forfeiture, and tenants claiming declarations that consent has been withheld unreasonably and damages. Hence, it is in the best interests of landlords and tenant to take early advice to avoid proceedings or to position themselves in future proceedings, if any.

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