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Subletting and Assigning – New York City

Under New York State law, a landlord cannot unreasonably refuse a request to sublet your apartment (if you have a lease and reside in a building with four or more units). This protection applies to both rent regulated and unregulated apartments.

The Rent Stabilization Code sets out strict rules that govern subletting apartments in New York City. If you do not follow each of the rules, your sublet request may be denied and in some cases, you may even lose your apartment.

A tenant seeking to sublet his/her apartment must comply with the following procedures:

  1. Inform the owner of an intent to sublease by mailing a notice of such intent by certified mail, return receipt requested, no less than 30 days prior to the proposed subletting with: (a) term of sublease; (b) name of proposed subtenant; (c) business and home address of proposed subtenant; (d) tenant’s reason for subletting; (e) tenant’s address for term of sublease; (f) written consent of any co-tenant or guarantor of the lease; (g) a copy of the tenant’s lease, where available, attached to a copy of the proposed sublease, acknowledged by the tenant and subtenant as being a true copy of the sublease;
  2. Within ten days after the mailing of the request, the owner may ask the tenant for additional information. Within 30 days after the mailing of the tenant’s request to sublet, or of the additional information reasonably asked for by the owner (whichever is later), the owner must send a reply to the tenant consenting to the sublet or indicating the reasons for denial. Failure of the owner to reply to the tenant’s request within the required 30 days will be considered consent.

If the owner consents, or does not reply to the request within the appropriate 30 day period, the apartment may be sublet. However, the tenant remains liable for all obligations under the lease.

If the owner unreasonably withholds consent, the tenant is legally allowed to sublet the apartment and may also recover court costs and attorney’s fees spent if a court finds that the owner acted in bad faith by withholding consent. If the owner reasonably withholds consent, the tenant may not sublet the apartment.

Other important things to know!

If you are a rent-stabilized tenant, the landlord may legally charge the subtenant up to 20%, on top of your monthly rent, for the duration of the sublease. The law allows also allows you to charge 10% above the landlord’s charges if you rent the unit fully furnished. But since you remain legally responsible to the landlord for the rent, if your subtenant fails to pay rent, you are required to pay any outstanding back rent, plus the additional 20%, to protect your tenancy.

Under the Rent Stabilization Code, you may only sublet your apartment for a maximum of two out of any four years.

What if I am not a rent stabilized NYC tenant?

If you are not a rent stabilized tenant, then you have a “market rate” apartment.  In that case, the lease governs how much you can charge or how much you must share with the landlord.

Subletting your apartment can be a very confusing and difficult process. We have assisted numerous tenants in getting their sublet requests approved.  Call us today if you’re thinking about subletting your apartment.