Can you get out of a sublease agreement before the term begins?

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Can you get out of a sublease agreement before the term begins?

If a prospective subtenant is asked to sign a sublease in order for the actual tenant to gain the landlord’s approval to sublease an apartment, can the subtenant get out of the sublease before the term for the sublease begins?

Asked on February 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, the subtenant would be bound by the sublease, even if entered into prior to the main lease, unless something happens such that the main tenant cannot convey possession according to the terms of the sublease.  Suppose the sublease says it will start March 1, 2012; the main tenant does not actually get the apartment until March 15, 2012--that is, for whatever reason, that's the earliest the main tenant's lease starts, or the earliest the apartment is ready for occupancy, etc. In that event, since the main tenant has materially (or significantly) breached the sublease by not being able to convey possession on the sublease's start date, the sublease would then be voidable by the subtenant.


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