Landlords in New York City cannot prevent their tenants from having guests. New York’s Real Property Law protects your right to have guests spend the night for up to 30 days. Having guests is generally considered to be an ordinary use of the premises. 

You don’t have to inform your landlord of what guests will be staying in your apartment, or who they are. Some landlords like to suggest that they can do this, but this is unenforceable. 

If the guest stays more than 30 days, they become a tenant by law. This is something you should be aware of when you invite guests over. You should also be aware of the maximum occupancy that your apartment will hold. 

You can even have up to two paying guests if you want, if they’re staying for less than 30 days. However, even paying guests must have free and unobstructed access to every room, and they must have free and unrestricted access to each exit within the apartment, as well. 

Internal doors cannot have key locks that allow guests to leave and lock their room behind them. In other words, you can charge a guest a little bit of money to couch surf, but you can’t really set up a “hotel-like” or even an Airbnb-like situation in your apartment. The law is also meant to ensure that nobody gets trapped in their room in the event of a fire. 

However, you have to be careful. Your right to have guests generally assumes you’ll be there with the guest. If you aren’t present, having guests stay at your apartment could violate your lease. Overnight guests must be supervised.

Many landlords are cracking down on guest policies because they don’t want to see their apartments used as Airbnbs. Landlords and tenants must also register apartments, keep records of guests, and follow city codes if they are using them as Airbnbs, and violations can lead to fines.

In addition, landlords don’t get to screen overnight guests the way they get to screen tenants. This can leave them very nervous about who is actually staying on their property. 

Any time you sign a lease it’s important to know your rights. Landlords often rely on ignorance and fear to impose unreasonable rules and provisions on their tenants.

If you’re having trouble with your landlord, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office. We can help.

See also:

6 Provisions That Aren’t Allowed in NYC Leases

In New York, When Can Landlords Enter a Tenant’s Home? 

Can I Sublet My Apartment While I Am Out of Town? 

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