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Situation: I don't want to renew my lease, but found a place that's available 2 months before my current expires.

My solution: I found a replacement tenant, and offered to do whatever cleaning is necessary for them to move in. The unit would be vacant for 0 days. I also am willing to remain legally responsible for rent, and wait 2 months to get my deposit back. I'm not sure if I could be more accommodating as a tenant.

Result: Refusal. The manager said I cannot terminate or sublet. They did say I could pay the remaining 2 months rent up front and end the lease.

The lease: My lease explicitly disallows early termination by the tenant. Period. The lease is silent on subletting though. Not sure if it matters, but there is a "use" clause restricting, the use to residential property by myself and wife.

Question: Can I legally allow my replacement tenant to move in, pay rent to me, and I pay the landlord? It doesn't seem right that the landlord can verbally add sublet restrictions not listed in the lease.

Caveat: I realize I can just do this without the landlord's notice, and they all they could do is evict / terminate the lease, and they probably wouldn't. I'm not afraid of that risk, but I'd rather not actually break the law even if I can technically get away with it.

Also, I live in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • This Landlord Tenant Handbook from the Georgia Department of Consumer Affairs says you should check your lease for language that prohibits subletting or that requires the landlord's permission before doing so. That seems to imply that your lease, which is silent on the matter, allows you to sublet the apartment. – phoog Apr 28 '16 at 21:07
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Break the lease.

Leave early and advise the agent, "I am leaving early in breach of the lease, I have found person X (references and police check attached) who is ready, willing and able to sign a lease on the same terms and conditions for the balance of my term or longer. I freely acknowledge that this is a breach of the contract but, in the circumstances the landlord has suffered no damage; I am willing to settle any claim for breach of contract for $1."

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    Ballsy move ! (I would not give that advice but thats ok, I suspect you are more knowledgeable then me). If you are going down that path, should you not also use the opportunity to document that the manager refused to allow the property to be sublet ? – davidgo Jul 28 '16 at 4:04
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    @davidgo Definitely. In New York, at least, if a landlord "unreasonably" withholds consent for a sublet or lease assignment, the tenant can break the lease, regardless of what the lease says about subletting or assignment. Other jurisdictions may have similar laws. – phoog Aug 27 '16 at 0:22
  • Definitely a ballsy move. HOWEVER be aware that Francis Davey (a barrister who used to specialization in lease law) has stated in uk.legal.moderated that in England and Wales, the rent will still be due - because that is what the contract says. Suing for the rent, is not suing for losses caused by breach of contract; it is suing for the rent due. As such, there is no obligation for a landlord to mitigate their losses (because that only applies under "breach of contract"). Of course, that is the sort of thing that is very likely to be jurisdiction specific. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Sep 26 '16 at 16:49

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