Whiteacre is a tract of land that includes a house. The owner, O, has leased Whiteacre to A for a term of two years. The lease expressly obligates A to pay rent of $1,000 per month. The lease states that its terms are binding on O, A, and their successors or assigns. The lease is otherwise silent as to assignments and subleases.
A is a member of the local country club, which O would like to join. Club rules require that a new member be nominated for membership by a current member. The lease between O and A contains the following provision: “Tenant agrees to nominate Landlord for membership in the country club.”
The lease also includes a provision about smoking:
Smoking: Tenant agrees not to smoke on Whiteacre, nor to permit smoking by any other person on Whiteacre. If this provision is breached, the Landlord may terminate this lease and retake possession of the property.
After one year, A and B execute a written agreement that provides as follows: “A and B agree that B shall take over all of the lease at Whiteacre.” B has previously read the lease between O and A. A then moves out of Whiteacre and B moves in. For the next six months, neither A nor B pays rent to O.
B is a heavy smoker and constantly smokes in the house on Whiteacre. After six months, O learns of B’s smoking. O notifies A and B that the lease is terminated. O also serves B with an eviction notice that complies with applicable law. B responds that B is not bound by the non-smoking provision of the original lease, and refuses to vacate.
O also notifies both A and B that they jointly owe $6,000 in rent. A and B each claim that the other owes the rent to O. Both A and B refuse to pay O.
B is also a member of the country club. When O terminates the lease, neither A nor B has nominated O for membership in the club.
- Does O have the right to evict B from Whiteacre for smoking? Explain.
- As between A and B, who is liable to O for the unpaid rent? Explain.
- When B moved in to Whiteacre, was B obligated to nominate O for membership in the country club? Explain.