Q&A: A Fair Sublet Fee?

Q I’m curious! What is a fair sublet fee for a small Brooklyn co-op? Is it just a percentage of the maintenance, or decided upon by some other formula?

—Brooklyn Shareholder

A Michael Manzi, an attorney at Balber Pickard Battistoni Maldonado & Van Der Tuin, explains that, “Co-ops calculate their sublet fees in a variety of ways. Some charge a percentage of the maintenance; some charge a percentage of the rent that the tenant/shareholder receives from the subtenant; some charge a month’s maintenance; and others charge a flat fee per month or year. The fee should not be confiscator. The co-op’s managing agent, if it has one, should be consulted as to what other co-ops in the area of similar size are doing.

“In establishing a sublet fee you should be aware that, although sublet fees are common, the legality of such fees is a matter of dispute. Many commentator are of the opinion that in order to be enforceable a sublet fee must be provided for in the co-op’s proprietary lease. We suggest that your lease be amended to provide for the fee and that your bylaws be amended to reflect the fee as well.” 

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