Ernst v. Conditt

From wikilawschool.org. Wiki Law School does not provide legal advice. For educational purposes only.
Ernst v. Conditt
Court Tennessee Court of Appeal
Citation 390 S.W.2d 703
Date decided May 3, 1965

Facts

  • Ernst = a couple who, in June 1960, leased a land in Davidson County, Tennessee to Mr. Rogers for 1 year = landlord
  • Rogers = a tenant = a builder of a go-kart track on his leased land
  • Ernest & Rogers extended the lease to 2 years
  • Rogers sub-leases (sub-let) the premises to Conditt
  • Conditt paid rent for 3 months but then stopped paying
  • Conditt kept possession of the premises for the remainder of the lease while paying rent only 1 more time

Procedural History

  • Ernst sued Conditt for not paying rent while in possession of the property.
  • Ernst sued Conditt in the Chancery Court in Tennesssee.
  • Conditt lost.

Issues

Can a 3rd party (Conditt), who receives leased premises from a tenant (Rogers), be held responsible for the tenant's lease obligations?

Arguments

Conditt argued that his contract was with Rogers (the primary tenant) as opposed to the Ernst (the landlord).

Holding

Yes; a 3rd party, who receives leased premises from a tenant, can be held responsible for the tenant's lease obligations.

Judgment

Affirmed

Reasons

Judge Chattin: The sub-lease between Rogers & Conditt constituted an assignment of Roger's rights under the original lease. Conditt was liable to the landlords for the rent pursuant to the lease.

Even though Rogers & Conditt labeled their contract a "sub-let," their contract was really for an assignment for the lease. Conditt was the person occupying the premises for the full duration of the original lease term.

Resources