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Can I sublet my apartment while I am out of town?

More employers are requiring their employees to travel frequently. You may be facing an extended work trip out of state or even out of the country. If you are expecting to be away from your apartment for months or even years, then subletting will sound like an enticing option.

Subletting will allow you to keep your apartment in its convenient location without breaking the lease. You may be especially interested in keeping your current rent price. If your apartment is rent-stabilized then it is certainly a rare commodity that you should hold onto. As New York City rent prices skyrocket, tenants in rent-stabilized units are safe from unfair price hikes. However, there are restrictions.

Always ask permission first

New York State tenants have the right to sublease their apartments, but there are strict stipulations. If you do not follow the correct steps when subletting your apartment, then your landlord can refuse permission.

In order to sublet your apartment you will need to obtain the landlord's written permission in advance. They cannot refuse permission "unreasonably," but if you live in a rent-stabilized unit then it is likely your landlord is just waiting to hike rent prices. They might jump on the chance to refuse your sublease, and therefore, you may be forced to break your lease. Worse yet, if you do not follow exact procedures for obtaining permission and go ahead with a sublease, then you could lose your apartment. Additionally your landlord could sue you for violating your lease.

Navigating the rules of subletting

Subletting is regulated under state laws, such as the multiple dwelling law. The sublease must last for a minimum of 30 consecutive days. Most tenants in rent-controlled housing cannot sublet their apartments. This may be the same for renters in condominiums and co-ops due to certain bylaws. You also likely cannot turn your apartment into an Airbnb, because it is technically not subletting. Your landlord does have the right to collect a vacancy rent increase during the term of the sublet. However, you can add that cost to the price of the sublet.

If you are considering a sublease or if your landlord has died a sublease unreasonably, then contact a tenant's right attorney. They will ensure that you follow the correct steps for subletting your lease and help you understand your rights as a New York City tenant. If you are sued in Housing Court then the cost and time involved can be a headache. It is especially important to contact an attorney for this process.

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