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LL accepts rent but I'm not on lease

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

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LL accepts rent but I'm not on lease

Postby jkbk20 » Sun May 05, 2019 9:37 am

I moved into my friend's rent stabilized apartment in 2015. She is the only one on the lease currently. For the past two years she has been subletting her room and the apartment manager recently found out and wants to charge a vacancy allowance. The LL has known of my presence for a few years now as we met when he came to look at repairing a leak in our window. LL has been accepting my personal checks for the entirety of the apartment rent for over a year now.
Is it possible that I have established a sort of tenancy by his acceptance of my full rent checks?Do I have any standing to be added to the lease officially without raising rent by the vacancy allowance-- or at least back date the allowance to when I moved in in 2015 to soften the blow of the rent jump? Any thoughts + advice are welcome and super appreciated.
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Re: LL accepts rent but I'm not on lease

Postby TenantNet » Sun May 05, 2019 10:34 am

You say, "For the past two years she has been subletting her room..." It's unclear. Do you mean to you, or to someone else?

There is a right to sublet, but it also involves a procedure. Start here: http://tenant.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=4933

Also see https://www1.nyc.gov/site/rentguideline ... tting.page

and https://hcr.ny.gov/system/files/documen ... rafac7.pdf

Technically there is no vacancy per se. But LLs can charge a sublet fee.

Each year, the RGB sets the sublet fee:
https://www1.nyc.gov/site/rentguideline ... er-50.page

ADDITIONAL ADJUSTMENT FOR RENT STABILIZED APARTMENTS SUBLET UNDER SECTION 2525.6 OF THE RENT STABILIZATION CODE

In the event of a sublease governed by subdivision (e) of section 2525.6 of the Rent Stabilization Code, the allowance authorized by such subdivision shall be 10%.


A prime tenant may also charge extra if the unit is furnished. "If the prime tenant sublets the apartment fully furnished, the prime tenant may charge an additional rent increase for the use of the furniture. This increase may not exceed ten percent of the lawful rent."

When you say the LL has been accepting your checks, are they in your name? This gets into murky territory. It might be that you have established tenancy rights. However, that might not hold as the prime tenant presumably still retains his/her rights. A lot would depend on all the pertinent facts. And adding a person to a lease (not taking it over) would likely trigger a vacancy increase. What are the intentions of the prime tenant? Does he/she intend on returning? Would you then be a roommate, or move out?
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Re: LL accepts rent but I'm not on lease

Postby jkbk20 » Sun May 05, 2019 11:07 am

Ah yes, apologies for the confusion.
It is a 3 bedroom apartment. My friend has been subletting her unfurnished room to random craiglisters for 2+ years. She has not followed any of the subletting procedures for RS apartments and has been charging $100 more for her room than she owes herself. She "thought" she had been given discretionary approval for roommates. I believe when she first signed her first lease she was the only tenant with 2 others being included only as roommates/ occupants ( not sure which). Since then, however no roomate info has been updated for the LL on any lease.

She expressed in the past wanting to hang onto the lease indefinitely, even though she's been living elsewhere for 2 years. Now she says she'll of take herself off the lease in the next year or so but not before our next renewal this summer. She will not be returning to reside in the apartment. I don't know what she is telling the LL though.

I really like this place and see myself staying for a long time. I'll stay until I'm kicked out/ priced out lol. I don't want my standing to be affected by her illegal subletting but also realize that introduces the vacancy allowance issue if i wish to be added to the lease now.

The full rent checks the LL has been accepting are in my name from my personal checking account and he has been aware of my occupancy for a few years now.

Are there ever situations where they would use vacancy allowance numbers from when I moved in in 2015 instead of 2019 to mitigate the rent jump?
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Re: LL accepts rent but I'm not on lease

Postby TenantNet » Sun May 05, 2019 1:53 pm

Clear this up please. Do you just rent a room from her and share the common areas? That is being a roommate, not a sublet.

A sublet is when you rent the entire place and the prime tenant goes away for a while (could be a few years), but still has the intent to return.

A roommate situation and sublet have different legal issues (it may be one thing in reality, but the LL files a lawsuit claiming it's the other thing). Tell me which one it is. I wrote an entire thing on roommates, but then erased it when you made it sound as if you were really a sublet.

Now halfway through this post you reverse again and say she's living somewhere else for 2 years. So do you rent a room, or the entire place? Do you live alone, or share the place? If she's away, is it a few days at a time, or gone for months or years living in some other place?

The problem (and solution) with any situation is how the tenant frames the issue, and how the LL decides to prosecute it. But please clear this up.
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Re: LL accepts rent but I'm not on lease

Postby jkbk20 » Sun May 05, 2019 4:03 pm

Sure thing!

I am a roommate.There are 3 bedrooms. The other bedroom is rented from my friend by a second roommate. I rent a room from my friend and the common areas are shared by the second roommate, myself + my friend's subletter.

My friend has not occupied her own room for 2+ years. She has been illegally subletting her own room for 2+ years. She has no plans to return to the apartment now or in the future but she is still the tenant listed on the lease.

I mentioned my friend subletting her own bedroom because the LL has found out she has been doing so without following any RS subletting procedures.

I'm anxious her actions have put my position in the apartment at risk, which is why I'm keen to add myself in some capacity to the lease.
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Re: LL accepts rent but I'm not on lease

Postby TenantNet » Sun May 05, 2019 4:44 pm

You have to be specific. This is like pulling teeth!

Is "your friend" the prime tenant on the lease? The common areas are shared by you, the 2nd roommate and "my friend's subletter"?

What do you mean by that? Is that a third roommate or something else? Seriously, we can't read minds.

So that's three rooms in a 3-bdr unit. Then you say you're friend (call her the prime tenant, please) occupies her own room. Does that mean there are 4 bedrooms?

All-in-all, this does sound like an illegal sublet situation. The determining factor is that she lives somewhere else, on a long-term basis.

The LL would have to take her to court seeking her eviction (and all the John/Jane Does -- you and the others).

That is unless she can show the LL withheld permission to sublet (read the sublet law).

You and the others might wish to contact a tenant attorney to see if you have any rights in all this. There are cases where one solution might be to give the lease to one or more new tenants (if the prime tenant agrees to let her claim go). Yes, that would likely involve a vacancy increase. But it might be better than protracted and expensive litigation. You and the other two roommates need to decide what you want to do.

The other lingering issue is what the prime tenant charged you. Was there an overcharge? To look into that, I would get the rent history from DHCR and see what the legal rent is, and see what you and the others were charged.

If there is an overcharge, that can be used as leverage to get the prime tenant to give up her claim to the unit.
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