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LL sent renewal lease in deceased mother's name

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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LL sent renewal lease in deceased mother's name

Postby ssjmichael » Wed Nov 10, 2021 12:49 am

Hi, my lease is up at the end of the year, and my LL sent a lease, but it's my mom's name. She sadly passed away in April, and I notified them of this then via certified mail. I also sent them a request to put my name on the lease instead, but it's been a few weeks, and I still haven't heard back.

I've lived with my mom here my whole life, so I definitely qualify for succession rights. I worry daily about the lease, and I'm just wondering what I should do. Am I within my rights to simply cross out my mom's name, and put mine, and send it back to them? Is this in violation of anything?

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Re: LL sent renewal lease in deceased mother's name

Postby TenantNet » Wed Nov 10, 2021 7:21 am

You posted in the rent stab section, so we assume you're RS. What you're talking about is succession rights. Explore this forum and this site on the rules and how to assert succession. Some LL's will not fight it, but some will. As you say, you have lived with your mother your entire life, so yes, it does appear legally you are entitled. They may require you to prove it. But if they resist, I would speak with a tenant attorney. That let's the LL know you are serious. In many cases, a letter from an attorney can clear things up before any litigation.

I would not just cross out her name and insert your name; you could get in trouble by doing that. Plus, as long as they don't offer you a proper lease, the rent can't go up. I've even seen references to some cases where you won't owe any rent until you get a proper lease. But I'd get legal advice on that.
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Re: LL sent renewal lease in deceased mother's name

Postby ssjmichael » Wed Nov 10, 2021 10:10 am

TenantNet wrote:You posted in the rent stab section, so we assume you're RS. What you're talking about is succession rights. Explore this forum and this site on the rules and how to assert succession. Some LL's will not fight it, but some will. As you say, you have lived with your mother your entire life, so yes, it does appear legally you are entitled. They may require you to prove it. But if they resist, I would speak with a tenant attorney. That let's the LL know you are serious. In many cases, a letter from an attorney can clear things up before any litigation.

I would not just cross out her name and insert your name; you could get in trouble by doing that. Plus, as long as they don't offer you a proper lease, the rent can't go up. I've even seen references to some cases where you won't owe any rent until you get a proper lease. But I'd get legal advice on that.


Thanks for your reply. Yes, I forgot to mention that it is a rent stabilized apartment. I guess my concern is that they might make some claim that if I don't send back the renewal lease they sent me within 60 days, they could make some grounds for eviction. I received it around October 11th.

I spoke to the manager in person last Wednesday, and I told him about the situation, and he started composing an email in front of me, supposedly telling his higher-ups about the situation. I don't know how long I should wait before contacting them again. Perhaps it's being processed and I'll get something within a week or two.

They're just historically deadbeat landlords unfortunately, so I will be looking into getting some legal help.
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Re: LL sent renewal lease in deceased mother's name

Postby TenantNet » Wed Nov 10, 2021 1:37 pm

RS is important as there are no succession rights for unregulated units.

I would not worry too much about the lack of a lease. They would have to take you to court (with the pandemic backlog) and your defense would be succession, and whatever else may be appropriate.

Theoretically you have 60 days to respond to a lease renewal offer, but that's really, from what I've always seen, a soft deadline.

But you can send them a certified letter RRR telling them that the lease is improper, that they have known about your mother's passing and your living there for many years. and ask them for a proper lease in your name. They can apply normal RGB renewal increases, but that's all.

From now on do everything by certified mail, keep copies of everything, including envelopes (for the postmark) and write down anything mentioned in any conversation. I would avoid conversations and push written correspondence. Even if they call on the phone, don't pick up and respond by email or letter.

Things like succession can be complicated. You would do good to consult with (and maybe retain) a tenant attorney with succession experience (some advertise on this site, but we don't get kickbacks or anything when tenants hire lawyers). Just make sure it's a tenant attorney.
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