IfI break my lease early, what are my rights regarding who I can get to take my place?

In order to break my lease, my landlord said I have to find the tenant myself and that I have to know them personally. Legally, do I have to know them?I’m okay with finding a tenant but they are claiming I have to know the prospective tenant personally and that I cannot put out an ad myself. Is this legal? In my lease agreement it only states that for a tenant tease Transfer, I have to find the tenant myself.

Asked on September 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Hampshire


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The landlord cannot make it a hard and fast requirement that you know the tenant taking over your lease, if that was not a condition or term of the lease itself. A lease is a contract and binds both parties; neither party may add to or change the terms of the lease unilaterally (that is, without the other party's agreement). So the landlord cannot add this as a requirement. The landlord likely does, however, have at least some say in whom you get--the majority of leases (check yours) state that the landlord must approve the assignee (the tenant you are bringing in); often it says that the landlord's approve will not be unreasonably withheld, but even when it does not explicitly say that, the covenant of good faith and fair dealing effectively requires it, anyway. However, if the landlord has a valid reason to not approve the new tenant--bad credit; heavy smoker in a building where no one else smokes; wants to run a home-based business out of a residence; etc.--the landlord can turn him or her down.

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