Can my landlord terminate my lease because I have a roommate or long-term guest?

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Can my landlord terminate my lease because I have a roommate or long-term guest?

I signed a lease and abide by all the terms. I am in CA for a few months on assignment and my boyfriend is house-sitting. My landlord said he doesn’t like him and doesn’t approve of him as a sublet tenant and claims because I am in CA that I have abandoned the premises (which is obviously not my intent). He is asking me to move out immediately and that he is terminating the lease. I am not asking to sublet. I am not even asking to add him on the lease. Do I have the right to a long-term guest, roommate, house-sitter? What are my rights?

Asked on October 16, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, a landlord may only terminate a tenancy for a violation of the lease (or for certain other, fairly obvious things--damaging the landlord's property, threatening the landlord or other tenants, disturbing the peace in a significant way and refusing to stop, etc.). If the lease says that you must be resident within the property, then he might be able to terminate your lease if you are not residing there; similarly, restrictions on the number of people who live there, or on whether or not only the individuals named in the lease, may be enforced. However, if those terms are not in the lease, then the landlord has no grounds to terminate your tenancy. It's unfortunate if the landlord doesn't like the boyfriend, but the landlord's likes and dislikes are immaterial. If there's a clause about subletting, IF you actually sublet, you'd have to abide by it...but if you're not actually subletting, that would not be an issue. Compare your landlord's complaints to the lease to see if he has any grounds.


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