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

A tenant of commercial premises will often want to sublet the whole or part of his premises and it is not unusual for there to be tension between a tenant and his landlord about the sub-tenant or the time the landlord takes to decide whether he is prepared to consent to the subletting.

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