Averting An Assignment In A Commercial Lease

An owner of a stationary store entered a five-year lease of a storefront in a strip mall. The lease had a clause that provided, “The lessee may not assign this lease or any rights or interest in it without the express written permission of the lessor. Any such unauthorized assignment shall be void and shall give the lessor the right to terminate this lease immediately.” A year after entering the lease, the stationary store lessee wants to sublet the premises — however, the lessor refuses to provide permission. A commercial real estate attorney assists commercial landlords as to whether the law supports the assignment prohibition. 

Prohibiting assignability of rights

The provision in the lease term, cited above, is clearly articulated and expressed. Because of such clarity, the term should bet translated to preclude effective transfer without the lessor’s permission. As the lessee needs permission to sublet, there is likely nothing that can be done to compel the lessor to give permission or to override his refusal. The lessor reserves absolute discretion to refuse permission. 

In a majority of states, lessors are required to show legitimate grounds for denying permission to sublet, such as:

  • Subtenant is financially unstable
  • Subtenant would use the premises improperly
  • Business character or identity of a subtenant
  • Legality of the proposed use

However, in Georgia, a lessor is not required to act reasonably when refusing permission. A lessor does not need to have a reason for refusing consent, unless the lease provides consent cannot be unreasonably withheld. Therefore, lessors are not required to show they have reasonable grounds for objecting to the subtenant. Marietta commercial real estate lawyers assist lessors when a lessee solely decides to sublet premises without the lessor’s permission. 

Seek caring assistance from efficient Marietta commercial real estate lawyers

By retaining Wiles & Wiles, LLP, clients acquire superior representation from diligent attorneys.  The firm represents clients in Marietta, Atlanta, Decatur, Cobb County, Fulton County, DeKalb County, Clayton County, Gwinnett County and throughout Georgia, Florida and Tennessee with commercial real estate issues. 

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