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Abstract

The law generally does not favor restrictions on the alienability of property and holds that a tenant may assign or sublet a lease, unless the lease specifically provides otherwise. For instance, courts will enforce the parties' bargain, and uphold provisions in a lease that states that it is non-transferable or that it is transferable only upon the landlord's consent. However, if a lease states that the landlord will not unreasonably withhold consent to a transfer of the lease, when is a landlord's refusal to give consent unreasonable? This article examines the common law parameters of determining unreasonableness, and finds that the basic framework for deciding whether a refusal is reasonable or unreasonable is provided by the lease itself. The article concludes that, within the boundaries of the lease, objective considerations based on financial grounds, on the identity or reputation of the proposed transferee or on the proposed use of the premises will provide reasonable grounds for a refusal to consent.

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