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If You're Not There, Beware

Tenants sometimes have personal or work-related circumstances which cause them to be absent from their rent-regulated apartments for extended periods of time. For example, an adult child may be staying with an ill or elderly parent for months, to assist with recuperative efforts or to provide needed care. A self-employed individual may have client projects that involve extensive traveling, or temporary residence elsewhere. A landlord might use a similar situation as an opportunity to claim abandonment of a rent-stabilized or rent-controlled unit, in an attempt to evict you and gain control of the apartment. While defenses can be raised and Housing Court takes many factors into consideration to determine if actual abandonment is a valid claim, it still exposes you to potential loss of your home and blacklisting. Once you're involved in a lawsuit, there's never an absolute guarantee of any particular result. If you know you're going to be away from your apartment for a while, it's a good idea to speak to a Tenants' lawyer in advance to see what your potential liability is, and to do some strategic legal preplanning. 

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