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Re: can my roommate yada yada: Smith is wrong, I hope.

Posted by Ex-Roommate on February 17, 2000 at 12:22:32:

In Reply to: Re: can my roommate add her boyfriend to lease: NO posted by Mark Smith on February 17, 2000 at 00:17:31:

: Grace asked:

: My roomate and I are both signers on the lease for our rent-stabilized 2 bdrm. apt. in Chelsea.

: I want to know: .....

: c) if she leaves the apt. can I just renew the lease or will we have to sign a whole new lease thereby increasing the rent by a whole lot?

: and Anna replied:

: should be renewal lease, not vacancy lease.

: ===========================================

: I disagree. You and your co-tenant have the right to renew the lease in the same manner as you executed the original lease -- a lease signed by both of you. The landlord does not have to renew the lease with either of you individually. Why should the landlord give up the security of having two people obligated to pay the rent?

: If the landlord chooses to renew with only one of you, after the other chooses not to renew, the landlord would be entitled to the statutory increase: 18% for a one-year lease or 20% for a two-year lease.

I have a similar question: my ex moved out, both of us are on the lease. I will probably not live the rest of my life as a hermit...

Are you a lawyer? I think you are incorrect. I also hope you are! A counselor at WSTU said the same thing as Anna, but did not quote a law. She said I might get different answers from different lawyers. She suggested searching in all three places here for the Roommate Law and for RPL 235. I've done that, but have not read all the prior posts to this board. She also suggested calling DHCR or going to their site and RGB's site. I did only the last one so far.

The Roommate Law, as explained by the Tenant Guides on, says she can replace her. Here's one: "If one or more of the tenants named on the lease (or one or more of the rent controlled tenants of record) moves out, the departing tenant or tenants can be replaced by the same number of roommates."

I read 235: it does not say anything about "replacing" named tenants: but I found one old Housing Court summary that did say that too. "The court interpreted the law with respect to multiple lease holding tenants as permitting an additional occupant (i.e., roommate) only where one of the named tenants was not in occupancy. In other words, the roommate would act as a replacement of the absent tenant." May 1997, 430 Realty Co. v. Baird.

So: the law allows me to have a roommate, but can they charge a vacancy rate on a renewal lease? No, according to the RGB:
" A tenant signs a Vacancy Lease when moving into a vacant apartment OR if his/her name is added to a lease signed by existing tenants. "

Here is a specific RGB answer:
Question: I have a question. I am on my lease with my roommate. As I
understand it, if I renew with a "new" roommate, my landlord
can charge the vacancy increase. Is this correct? What if I
assumed the lease on my own?

RGB Answer: If you renew and a new roommate signs the lease, the
landlord can charge the vacancy increase of 18-20%. This is
considered a "new" lease and is subject to the vacancy
allowance rules. However, if you renew the lease on your
own (no roommate signs the lease), the landlord cannot
charge the vacancy allowance. Under this scenario you can
still have a roommate (state law allows you to have one
roommate without the landlord's consent), but the roommate
would not trigger a vacancy increase.

If the RGB doesn't have the right answer, who would? Smith: can you quote some law to back up your opinion?

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