I've been reading example leases and was surprised to see how much power the landlord has in the US, at least compared to Canada. For example, at least in BC, landlords must allow tenants to sublet or assign their room and cannot charge a fee. I've seen leases in California that say if a tenant wishes to sublet they will be charged $650.


(3) A landlord must not charge a tenant anything for considering, investigating or consenting to an assignment or sublease under this section.


A tenant must have their landlord’s written permission before subletting or assigning their tenancy. A landlord can’t unreasonably refuse a sublet or assignment of a fixed-term tenancy for a period of six months or more.

I've also seen no pet clauses in American leases that says tenants must not permit animals inside or around the house, including insects. Isn't it silly to say no insects outside the house?

  • Well, the duly elected legislature of BC chose to make laws restricting lease terms that happen to be favorable to the tenant, and the duly elected legislature of California chose not to. The reasons for that are probably more appropriate to politics.stackexchange.com than this site. Jan 10, 2016 at 1:38
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    @NateEldridge it's also possible that California leases sometimes contain provisions that conflict with the law and are therefore not enforceable.
    – phoog
    Jan 10, 2016 at 2:54
  • US law is far from uniform. Landlords in New York State cannot unreasonably refuse assignment, for example.
    – phoog
    Jan 10, 2016 at 12:17

2 Answers 2


Different jurisdictions have different attitudes and histories. The difference is probably more cultural than legal and both leases are quite likely legal in both jurisdictions.

In general, US jurisdictions tend towards laissez-faire capitalism and contracts have a buyer beware slant. Civil-law European countries are much more collective and have very strong consumer protection. Canada and other Commonwealth countries fall somewhere in the middle.


In many jurisdictions, the law is overwhelmingly in favor of the tenant. Just getting a tenant evicted to non-payment of rent is a major exercise (for a graphic illustration, watch the movie Pacific Heights). Landlord compensate by using contractual provisions.

  • Boo. Who downvoted this. As a landlord I know this is the reason, and I write my contracts almost as leniently as I dare.
    – Joshua
    Jan 12, 2016 at 0:04

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