Problems with General Assignments on Leases


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An assignment within a lease document may permit someone to let another individual take over the rental payments and other responsibilities when he or she is unable to continue as the tenant. However, without a specific condition within the lease document, it is possible that various problems may arise for the landlord at some point.

Assignments are similar to subletting except instead of an additional person taking part of the rent on and living or residing in the same building, the individual becomes the new tenant. The original leaseholder is still responsible for ensuring the rent is paid by the assignee and other responsibilities as per the lease document, but the assignee becomes the tenant through living in the building or with commercial property taking over business transactions either through the same company or a new one that has been created by him or her. The assignment permits the landlord to collect rental payments rather than a lease termination or breach.

There are various types of assignments that may be applied to leases depending on the landlord and tenant. If the landlord is the sole person responsible for ensuring these clauses are in the document, he or she may only include a general assignment clause if he or she does not foresee the possibility of an assignment occurring with the tenant in the future. However, some situations may arise where the leaseholder is unable to fulfill his or her obligations and must leave to another location. With a general lease, the assignee may have a contractual obligation, or he or she may only pay the rent.

General Assignments Explained

While assignments are not necessarily part of a lease agreement, the document may be amended to include them when the tenant cannot continue leasing the property for a number of reasons. If the building is a commercial property, another business may take the place of the current one after the tenant finds a new person to take over the lease payments. General assignments are used with no specific details as to who is responsible for what, and this could complicate matters for both the landlord and the tenant when various situations arise. The assignee may not pay the lease, and if the assignment does not specify, the previous tenant may still be the accountable party in ensuring the monies are provided no matter that an assignee has been tasked with the job.

The numerous issues with general assignments involve no details other than the primary arrangement to have someone else pay the rent. The responsibilities of the landlord are not often defined in these circumstances, and he or she may have no issues to contend with when an assignment has been used. Many problems occur for the tenant when he or she has not been covered by specific assignment details and conditions such as holding the assignee accountable for paying the rent when the previous tenant cannot. Other obligations such as insurance, damage to the property and business transactions could cause complications if no details are supplied in the clause.

Some Issues with General Assignments

When the lease has no clearly defined and specific clauses or conditions, it is possible that certain areas of a leased property are not included when the assignee takes over the current tenantís lease agreement. For property that includes a portion of land for a parking lot, this may limit how much space is provided or what parts of the lot are permitted for use by the assignee. This may be due to certain clauses in the lease or a lack of specific details. Some leases have addendums that provide the information that permits the tenant to use a parking lot for a commercial enterprise.

Some lease agreements have limits on what may be performed or accomplished on the land. This restricts the tenant in building or changing the landscape. If the assignee violates these clauses or conditions, the tenant that passed over the lease could be responsible for the damage. If the lease does not specify who is responsible for what, the tenant may need to return and sort out the problems with the landlord or find a new assignee.

Lawyers in General Assignments

If the tenant is taken to court for damages or needs to file suit against a landlord, he or she should hire a lawyer to assist with these situations. When the lease agreement has only a general assignment clause, there is often enough unspoken that he or she may be covered in these situations.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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