Unless you live in public housing or receive Section 8, it’s generally permissible to sublet your apartment in New York City.
However, subletting is governed by several laws you should be aware of.
You Must Request Permission
Most leases will not allow you to sublet an apartment without written permission. The law will not allow an unreasonable refusal. Reasonable refusals could include problems with the potential tenant’s credit or employment history.
To request permission, you must send a certified letter, return receipt requested, no less than 30 days before the proposed subletting.
You must tell your landlord the name of the sublessee, the length of time you’ll be subletting, the sublessee’s business and permanent home address, the reason for the request, and your address for the terms of the sublease, and a copy of the proposed sublease.
The reason is important—you have to be able to show that you have clear reasons for your absence and that your apartment will remain your primary residence.
If you have a co-tenant or lease guarantor, you must include written consent from those parties.
The landlord has ten days to ask for additional information. If the landlord does not respond within 30 days, their failure to respond counts as consent. Landlords may not charge a sublet allowance.
You Can’t Charge More than the Rent
Subleasing is not a good way to try to make a profit off your apartment. You can’t charge more than the rent.
There is one loophole: you can charge an additional 10% if you provide furniture.
There are Limitations on Subleases
You can’t sublet for more than two years. Your subletter also can’t automatically take over the lease if you move out.
If you are planning to leave the apartment permanently and want the sublettor to take over, that’s called an assignment, and the new party will generally have to apply for the apartment the same way you did.
If you illegally sublet your apartment, you could be fined up to $7,5000. If you’re caught renting a rent-regulated apartment on Airbnb, you can be evicted for profiteering on a rent-regulated apartment, as well as for illegally using your apartment.
Get Help Today
Often, people sublet as a way to earn some extra cash over the holiday season. The tenant is going out of town for the holidays; the sublettor is coming into town for the holidays.
It’s easy to run afoul of the law here, and if a landlord takes exception to the arrangement, they may make trouble. If that happens, you’ll need help from a qualified tenant rights lawyer. If you’re struggling with a landlord right now, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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