Can my landlord refuse to let me sublet my room in a house without reason?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my landlord refuse to let me sublet my room in a house without reason?

I live and Maryland and recently got a job which requires me to relocate. According to the Maryland law library, if a landlord gives you the option to sublet per their approval, that approval cannot be withheld for unreasonable reasons. ‘If the lease provides that the tenant must obtain the landlord’s consent in order to sublease, consent may not be unreasonably withheld. Reasonable objections to a prospective subtenant might include concern about his ability to pay the rent, or concern about his intention to use the premises for unsuitable purposes’

Asked on December 5, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Generally, "reasonableness" goes to the suitabilty of the proposed subletting tenant--issues such as his/her ability to pay--and not the reason the main tenant (you) wish to sublet; your reasons for subletting are wholly irrelevant. So as a general matter, you would be correct: the landlord cannot base his objections on the reason(s) you need to sublet, and doing so would not be reasonable. 
That said, you write that you are looking to sublet a room in a house--i.e. not a standalone unit. If you are renting a room in the landlord's house (i.e. living with the landord, in essence), the courts generally recognize that the the landlord has  a legitimate interest in choosing whom he or she shall live with, and will generally allow a landlord to refuse a sublet (or assignment) of a room in the landlord's house for essentially any reason.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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