Ernst v. Conditt

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Ernst v. Conditt
Court Tennessee Court of Appeal
Citation 390 S.W.2d 703
Date decided May 3, 1965


  • 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.


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


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


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




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.