Simon Says: How to avoid your shop being sublet?

This is the twelfth in a weekly series of legal advice provided in a short and entertaining story format.


This week's areas of Interest: Landlord Tenant Disputes


This week's keywords: Contract, Tenancy, Subletting, Subtenant Rights



How to avoid your shop being sublet?  


Jack is the owner of a shop in the suburbs in Guangzhou, and he rented it to Bob, who opened a snake soup restaurant. They signed a three year tenancy agreement.


Three months later, a customer got poisoned. Bob had forgotten to remove the venom from the snake before serving it. His license got suspended, and was forced to close his restaurant down.


Bob, not wanting to terminate the lease early and to lose additional money, sublet the shop to his best pal, Alex. Alex, having success in his karaoke business, decided to open a karaoke bar.


Not long after, the neighbors started complaining of loud noise and dreadful singing to Jack. It was not until six months later, and not knowing what happened, Jack went down to negotiate with Bob. Assuming that the terrible singing came from Bob, he was surprised to see karaoke bar in place.


‘Since when did a snake soup restaurant turn into a karaoke bar? I do not approve of this. Shut it down.’ Jack requested.


‘I signed a lease with Bob, subletting this premises, so it looks like you shall have to bear with the songs from heaven for quite a while.’ Alex replied.


Could this scenario be avoided?




Prof Simon Says:


Yes, this would not have happened if Jack had added one simple clause in the tenancy agreement, prohibiting any subletting without landlord’s consent.


If Jack had done so, he could have avoided the subletting, therefore forcing Alex to shut his karaoke shop down. Moreover, this has to be done within first six months of the unauthorized subletting or otherwise he lost all his rights to revoke such subletting.


Simon Says - Episode 11: Can a sale end a tenancy when a property is sold?



For more about this or to contact Professor Simon Choi at, +86 13823677853 or by WeChat: simonhkchoi. 


ACME Ardent's Simon Choi WeChat QR Code


"This article was originally written in Chinese by Mr Huanyu Li and rewritten into English by Simon Choi."


Simon Choi

About the Author: Professor Simon Choi

Prof Simon Choi, solicitor and linguist, is an international lawyer, qualified to practise law in England & Wales and in Hong Kong, China. Simon graduated from law schools of the Peking University, the University of London and the University of Hong Kong respectively, with an in-depth knowledge of Chinese laws and common laws and with more than 20 years experience in China practice and international trade, investment, finance, merger & acquisition. He is an adjunct professor of laws at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. Simon is the founding partner of Acme Ardent and can be reached at or +86 13823677853.

Be the first to review this item!

Bookmark this

17 May 2017

By Simon Choi

Events Calendar