When it comes to two people buying a home together, the traditional assumption is that they’re either in a romantic relationship, married, or related. But the definition of relationships has evolved with the times. Not all people marry, and not all people can afford to purchase a home alone, especially in a place as expensive as New York City. So can two unrelated individuals who are not in a romantically-based life partnership purchase and occupy a co-op apartment together? The experts weigh in.
What’s Defined in the Law?
Recent updates to the non-discrimination law in co-op ownership have touched on issues such as physical disabilities, gender identification, and primary source of income. Marital status is perhaps the most common and continually expanding subset of potentially ‘protected’ categories.
“The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of, among other things, marital status,” says Phyllis Weisberg, a partner at the New York law office of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads.
Taking Advantage of Ownership Benefits
Not all single people want to live in a small space, which might be all they can qualify to purchase on their own. The idea that a single person might rent a two-bedroom apartment and then rent out the second bedroom, or find a long-term roommate to rent that apartment with and share the unit, is far from unusual. As a matter of fact, it’s quite common. Just check out those ads in the subway offering roommate search services.
However, renting does not offer the long-term tax benefits of ownership or the opportunity for appreciation that ownership affords. If two good friends can pool their resources and purchase an apartment, why not get the benefits of ownership while remaining roommates?