Q&A: Subletting Situation

I teach real estate licensing and continuing education courses at New York University and Long Island University. My question is with regard to Form 86, co-op sublets. It is my understanding that New York State law allows a tenant named on the lease to have one additional person not named on the lease to occupy the apartment with proper notification (at least 30 days) to the landlord, after the “roommate” takes occupancy. It is also my understanding that the landlord and tenant may not agree to waive this right, although the tenant may choose not to exercise it. Is my understanding of the law correct, and does it apply to co-op leases and subleases?

—A Lease on Life

According to Dov Treiman, the landlord-tenant managing partner at the Manhattan-based law firm of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., the law to which the questioner refers is New York Real Property Law Section 235-f which states, “Any lease or rental agreement for residential premises entered into by two or more tenants shall be construed to permit occupancy by tenants, immediate family of tenants, occupants and dependent children of occupants; provided that the total number of tenants and occupants, excluding occupants' dependent children, does not exceed the number of tenants specified in the current lease or rental agreement, and that at least one tenant or a tenants' spouse occupies the premises as his primary residence.” It applies to ALL residential rental agreements, including sublease agreements in a co-op.

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