Apartment Subletting
sublet New York

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SUBLETTING OR ASSIGNING LEASES 

Subletting and assignment are methods of transferring the tenant's legal interest in an apartment to another person. A sublet transfers less than the tenant's entire interest while an assignment transfers the entire interest. A tenant's right to assign the lease is much more restricted than the right to sublet.

Tenants with leases who live in buildings with four or more apartments have the right to sublet with the landlord's advance consent. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold consent. If the landlord consents to the sublet, the tenant remains liable to the landlord for the obligations of the lease. If the landlord denies the sublet on reasonable grounds, the tenant cannot sublet and the landlord is not required to release the tenant from the lease. If the landlord denies the sublet on unreasonable grounds, the tenant may sublet. If a lawsuit results, the tenant may recover court costs and attorney's fees if a judge rules that the landlord denied the sublet in bad faith.

These steps must be followed by tenants wishing to sublet:

1) The tenant must send a written request to the landlord by certified mail, return-receipt requested. The request must contain the following information: (a) the length of the sublease; (b) the name, home and business address of the proposed subtenant; (c) the reason for subletting; (d) the tenant's address during the sublet; (e) the written consent of any co-tenant or guarantor; (f) a copy of the proposed sublease together with a copy of the tenant's own lease, if available.

2) Within 10 days after the mailing of this request, the landlord may ask the tenant for additional information to help make a decision. Any request for additional information may not be unduly burdensome.

3) Within 30 days after the mailing of the tenant's request to sublet or the additional information requested by the landlord, whichever is later, the landlord must send the tenant a notice of consent, or if consent is denied, the reasons for denial. A landlord's failure to send this written notice is considered consent to sublet.

4) A sublet or assignment which does not comply with the law may be grounds for eviction.

In addition to these sublet rules, there are additional requirements limited to rent stabilized tenants. These rules include the following:

- The rent charged to the subtenant cannot exceed the stabilized rent plus a 10% surcharge payable to the tenant for a furnished sublet. Additionally, the stabilized rent payable to the owner, effective upon the date of subletting, may be increased by a "sublet allowance" equal to the vacancy allowance then in effect. A subtenant who is overcharged may file a complaint with DHCR or may sue the prime tenant in court to recover any overcharge plus treble damages, interest, and attorneys' fees. (RSC § 2525.6(e))

- The prime tenant must establish that at all times he/she has maintained the apartment as a primary residence and intends to reoccupy it at the end of the sublet.

- The prime tenant, not the subtenant, retains the rights to a renewal lease and any rights resulting from a co-op conversion. The term of a sublease may extend beyond the term of the prime tenant's lease. The tenant may not sublet for more than two years within any four-year period. (Real Property Law §226-b, RSC §2525.6)

YOUR LEASE MAY CONTAIN SPECIFIC CLAUSES RELATING TO SUBLETTING YOUR NEW YORK LEASE. DOES NOT APPLY TO COMMERCIAL UNITS.

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