Foster City, CA asked in Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: I'm currently facing a rental dispute regarding my lease in California.

need to transfer my lease to a new tenant or conduct a lease takeover due to an urgent situation. However, the lease agreement has specific clauses about assignment, subletting, and adding additional occupants that seem restrictive and potentially void without prior written consent from the landlord. Additionally, there's an early termination option with a significant fee, and I'm seeking advice on the proper steps to handle this situation without breaching the lease agreement. Could you provide guidance on the best approach to resolve this issue?

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2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Here are some steps to help resolve your lease transfer situation in California:

1. Review your lease agreement carefully, paying close attention to the clauses related to assignment, subletting, adding occupants, and early termination. Note any specific requirements or restrictions outlined in the contract.

2. Communicate with your landlord in writing (email or letter) about your situation and your desire to transfer the lease or find a new tenant for a lease takeover. Be transparent about your reasons and maintain a polite and professional tone.

3. If your lease allows for assignment or subletting with the landlord's prior written consent, request their permission to proceed with finding a new tenant. Provide them with the necessary information about the potential new tenant, such as their credit report, employment details, and references.

4. If your landlord agrees to the lease transfer or takeover, ensure that all agreements are documented in writing. This may include an assignment agreement or a new lease agreement with the new tenant.

5. If your lease does not allow for assignment or subletting, consider negotiating with your landlord. Offer to assist in finding a qualified replacement tenant and agree to remain responsible for the rent until the new tenant is approved and takes over the lease.

6. Should your landlord refuse to allow a lease transfer or takeover, review the early termination clause in your lease. If you decide to pursue this option, provide written notice to your landlord as specified in the lease and prepare to pay the required early termination fee.

7. If you believe that the lease provisions regarding assignment, subletting, or early termination are unreasonable or unlawful, consider seeking legal advice from a local tenant rights organization or a qualified attorney specializing in landlord-tenant law in California.

Remember that open, honest communication with your landlord is crucial in resolving this situation amicably. By understanding your lease agreement and working collaboratively with your landlord, you can minimize the risk of breaching the contract while finding a suitable solution for all parties involved.

Delaram Keshvarian
Delaram Keshvarian
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Orange, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Thank you for your question!

It seems that your lease agreement allows subleasing/assignment conditioned on the landlord's consent.

Landlord's consent must be reasonable, and he cannot just withdraw his consent not to allow subleasing. For example, if the new tenant has poor credit and no income or savings, it is reasonable for the landlord to withdraw his consent. Also, he cannot withdraw his consent based on discrimination forbidden under laws (e.g., discrimination against race).

So you can look for a new tenant and discuss it with the landlord. This way you do not have to pay for the breach fees.

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