Posted by Mark Smith on February 13, 1999 at 10:03:04:
On the Friday, February 12, 1999 episode of The People's Court, a woman appeared for the second time on the show. The first time she was the defendant and this she was the plaintiff. In each case, she was the tenant of a rent stabilized apartment, paying almost $1,000 a month, who had taken in a roommate.
What surprised me was how little the tenant and the roommate knew about the roommate law and the rent stabilzation law.
The roommate and her "friend" argued, among other things, that the roommate should not have to pay any rent because the lease between the prime tenant and the owner of the building prohibitted subletting.
"Judge" Koch rejected that argument, but did not mention or explain the roommate law [Real Property Law §235-f].
The prime tenant thought that she was entitled to charge the roommate one-half of her rent, plus 10% for furnishings, and one-half of the cost of utilities. Those limitations apply to subletting; there is no limit on how much a roommate can be charged. In fact, the roommate could legally be charged more than the entire rent for the apartment.
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