Commercial Property Sub-Lease is Responsibility of Tenant not Landlord

Does a sub-tenant have any right to stay in an office building if the lease owner has been evicted? A real estate brokerage firm has been the sole tenant of a small office building in the Scottsdale Air Park. Due to the weakening real estate economy, they were able to sub-lease three office spaces from this real estate brokerage firm several months ago. Under the commercial property lease between the owner of the office building and the real estate brokerage firm, the owner was required to consent in writing to this sub-lease. The sub-tenant has a copy of this written consent signed by the owner. The real estate brokerage firm is now delinquent on the rent, and the owner has instituted eviction proceedings. The owner does not want to honor our sub-lease because the owner wants to find a new tenant who will lease the entire office building.

Any sub-tenant under the lease, or any assignee of the lease, basically “stands in the shoes” of the tenant. Therefore, if the landlord is entitled to evict the real estate brokerage firm for delinquent rent, then the sub-tenant will also be subject to eviction. Although the owner consented to the sub-lease, unless there was a novation, i.e., new contract, (“nova” is Latin for “new”) between the sub-tenant and the owner regarding the three office spaces, the sub-tenant has no right to enforce against the owner of the sub-lease. However, the sub-tenant would have a claim against the real estate brokerage firm for breach of the sub-lease.

Combs Law Group was organized as and continues to be a highly specialized, boutique real estate law firm. For more information please contact us at or by calling 602.957.9810.


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