Looking to figure out the New York City subletting laws? In New York City, several laws govern the circumstances under which a sublease agreement can be signed. For both landlords and tenants, understanding these laws is primordial before listing or allowing a sublease.
This write-up will provide you a breakdown of New York City subletting laws.
Who Can Sublet an Apartment in New York City?
Legally, every tenant in New York City living in a residence with over four units is allowed to sublet their apartment. The city covers tenants under these conditions even if the lease agreement doesn’t allow subletting. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule as follows:
- Residents of public or subsidized housing facilities are not allowed to sublet their units. This includes HUD homes or homes under the Housing Choice Voucher program (Section 8).
- Tenants in non-profit buildings may not be allowed to sublease.
- Residents of co-ops and condo apartments are not legally covered by city laws to sublet. However, they may refer to their building or propriety lease by-laws which may or may not allow them to sublet.
- For tenants recipients of rent subsidies, such as DRIE and SCRIE, Section 8, or FEPS, or any program where rent is based on income, it is considered a violation of the programs’ rules if they sublet.
- In the case of rent-stabilized units, tenants only have the right to sublet under certain conditions.
- Occupants of rent-controlled apartments are not authorized to sublet.
NYC Subletting Guidelines
The 2011 multiple housing law sets the guidelines that must be respected before a tenant can sublet their apartment.
Tenants must ask for approval from their landlords for sublease via certified mail with return receipt requested. In this letter, the following elements need to be listed:
- The period of the sublet – 30 days – 2 years maximum.
- The name, business, and permanent home address of the potential subtenant.
- The reason for subletting, showing intention to return to the apartment.
- Tenant’s address during the sublet period.
- Written consent from any co-tenants or guarantors on the lease agreement.
- A copy of the sublease agreement and that of the lease agreement between the tenant and the landlord.
- A letter from the tenant and potential subtenant attesting the sublease is a true and accurate copy. Signed and notarized by both parties.
- On receipt of the request, the landlord has 30 days to respond, after which silence will equal consent. The landlord has ten days after receipt of the request to ask for more information about the sublease agreement.
- The landlord is bound to issue only a reasonable denial of consent. In which case, the tenant will not be allowed to sublet. (e.g., insufficient sublessee income, criminal record, no proof of return of tenant).
- In the case of unjustified denial of consent to sublet, the tenant can go ahead to sublet their unit.
- Tenants remain liable for rent payments to the landlord even if the subtenant fails to pay their monthly rent.
Additional Guidelines for Subsidized and Regulated Housing.
In addition to the rules mentioned above, the following requirements apply to tenants living in subsidized or regulated housing.
- Tenants cannot charge subtenants higher than their current rent unless the apartment is furnished during the sublet. In which case the rent may be raised by 10%. In case of an overcharge, the subtenant will be entitled to damages of three (3) times the surplus. They may also be awarded attorney’s fees and interest on the overcharge.
- Tenant must maintain the unit as their primary residence at all times and must state when they will regain the premises. Their identification documents most list this unit as the primary address, and they must pay a resident tax, without which subleasing won’t be allowed.
- Subleases are limited to two years renewable only every four years. This is to avoid the hoarding of regulated housing for permanent subletting.
- If the term of a sublease surpasses the tenant’s current lease, the subtenant is subject to the tenant’s renewal lease. Landlords are bound to offer and accept renewal leases from tenants during the sublet term. Any rent increase as a result of renewal can be imposed on the subtenant.
- In the case of a rent-controlled apartment, the tenant must have written consent from the property owner. This form of housing is not subject to general subletting laws. The sublet period can be as long as the owner allows in the written consent.
Conclusively, before deciding to sublet your apartment, it is imperative to understand the laws that govern subleasing. From looking at the legal provisions for your housing type to getting approval from your landlord before concluding a sublease agreement, you need to make sure you do not violate any of the regulations in place. In case of any doubts, do not hesitate to seek counsel from experts.