Dallas, TX asked in Real Estate Law for Texas

Q: Can a lease contain a sublease clause when the landlord never intended to give an option to utilize?

My lease has a clause to sublet or sublease with the landlord's consent. Because of my personal circumstance, I reached out to the property management who represent the landlord. PM has down right refused to ask the landlord or refused give me an option to sublease the property. They say it was because of fair act and they don't allow any of the renters to sublease. Had that been the case, I would've not signed the lease in the first place. It was given as a possible option but now they are saying they never will allow that option to anyone. It sounds like they weren't going to honor that clause before I even signed the lease which looks to be bait and switch. I mean why put that clause in the lease making me think that it was going to be an option when they knew they weren't going to null that clause? Is this a breach of the lease? Or falsifying the lease term? I need help. I've tried to reason with them and meet all their lease agreement but keep on saying they never have allowed it

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1 Lawyer Answer
Teri A. Walter
Teri A. Walter
  • Houston, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: I suppose it's possible that you could win a suit against the landlord for unreasonably withholding consent to a sublease, IF you had provided a good tenant and they refused to consider it. It's even possible that you could have a Deceptive Trade Practices Act claim for misrepresentation of the lease agreement. However, in either case, your damages would likely not be enough to make the case worthwhile.

Regardless of any of that, the landlord does have an obligation to try to find a new tenant if you move out. You'd be taking a risk, but moving out early is an option. Your risk would be in how long it took them to find a new tenant, and you'd be responsible for the rent during that time.

Or, you could go a third route and find a potential tenant, move out, and provide that prospective tenant's information to the landlord. Assuming there is no valid objection to the tenant (they meet the landlord's criteria to live there, can afford the rent, and are willing and able to move in), that would provide a defense to any claim against you by the landlord for breach of the lease.

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