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Primary Tenant Liability for a Sublet

If you sublet your apartment and the landlord illegally evicts your subtenant, you have potential liability. In New York City, evicting people without court process is a crime. If the landlord does it, you can have "vicarious liability," which means that you can be held liable for the landlord's wrongful acts.

For example, let's say you are leaving the state for a while, so you sublet your unit. The subtenant doesn't pay the rent to the landlord. The landlord then locks the subtenant out of the apartment illegally. You might not find out it has happened until after the fact. You, as primary tenant, could face serious legal consequences, up to and including having to defend civil and criminal charges.

This is just one of the reasons it's so important to structure sublet transactions properly, to give you control over timely rent payment, and sufficient oversight so you can avoid any problems. If you have doubts about whether the landlord will abide by the law in dealing with your subtenant, it may be unwise to sublet your apartment.

Regardless of what you choose to do, consult a lawyer before you finalize things to be sure the transaction fully abides by the sublease laws, and to plan for any potential difficulties that may arise.

Attention New York City Tenants: Get more information on subletting at the McAdams Law main site here:

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