What rights does a sub-tenant have if the primary tenant fails to pay rent?

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What rights does a sub-tenant have if the primary tenant fails to pay rent?

I paid my rent to my landlord in a commercial office; she is subleasing an office out to me. Turns out she hasn’t paid the rent on the office and now the property owner is threatening to change the locks. What rights do I have?

Asked on June 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) You don't have any right to stay in the premises if the rent is not paid by the primary tenant, or if the primary tenant is evicted for any reason; your right of occupancy derives from the primary tenant's own rights, and if she loses her possession of the space, she can no longer give you the right to stay there.

2) You may be able to sue the primary tenant for damages, if she has breached  her lease with you by not providing you the space which she agreed to rent to you. You potentially could recover the cost to move your business elsewhere, or if you rent more expensive space, the difference in price.

3) Nothing stops you from trying to work something out withe landlord and the current tenant in which you might rent some or all of the space directly from the landlord.


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