Recently, the California Supreme Court held that a landlord in a commercial lease transaction may not unreasonably withhold consent to the assignment or subletting of the premises by the tenant.
However, another recent appellate court ruled against the tenant because he had not requested that the landlord give his consent.
In the latter case, an oil company leased a gas station on condition that the tenant not assign or sublease without the oil company's consent. The tenant sublet the property without informing the lessor, who brought an unlawful detainer action to evict the subtenant and terminate the lease.
The court held that the landlord may not withhold its consent to an assignment or subletting unless he has a good-faith, reasonable objection to the transfer. However, in this case, the tenant did not request the oil company's consent to the sublease, which is required to afford the lessor an opportunity to protect his interest.
The court stated that in an appropriate case, and to prevent undue hardship even when the landlord's consent is not requested, the court should determine whether denying the tenant relief is unjust.