Is it Legal to Sublet Your New York City Apartment?

Written by Posted On Friday, 29 June 2018 03:17
Is it Legal to Sublet Your New York City Apartment?

Subletting is when a tenant moves out of their apartment and rents it to someone else without breaking their lease. This usually occurs if the tenant is going to be away for a few months and they want to recoup some of the money they’re paying on rent while not actually living in the apartment.There are a lot of opinions on subletting in New York City, with some landlords banning the process outright in lease agreements. But is that legal? Does a tenant have the right to sublet? Can landlords block the process just because they’re uncomfortable with it?


It is legal to sublet your New York City apartment if you are a tenant in a privately-owned building with more than four rental units.

That means all lease agreements forbidding the subletting process are not valid.

Does that mean you can just sublet your space whenever you want, without telling your landlord?

Absolutely not.

While New York City law grants these tenants the right to sublet, there is a process they must go through in order to keep everything on the up and up. It is recommended that anyone with questions about subletting consult an experienced real estate attorney.

Exceptions to Subletting Law

Not all tenants can sublet. Your ability to do so depends on what kind of building you’re living in.

There are five exceptions which block a tenant’s right to sublet.

Public or Subsidized Housing Residents:

Anyone living under HUD or project-based Section 8 conditions may not sublet.

Residents in Non-Profit Buildings:

If you live in a limited or non-profit housing unit, you may be blocked from subletting. Sometimes, these residents can sublet, but they may face certain restrictions. Check program guidelines before beginning the process.

Tenants in Co-Ops or Condos:

If you are renting a co-op or condo, you have no right to sublet by law. It is up to the individual building’s by-laws and the terms of a proprietary lease.

Rent Controlled Tenants:

If you live in a rent-controlled building, you may not sublet unless there is a specific clause in your lease which grants you the right. It should be noted that residents in rent stabilized units DO have the right to sublet.

Tenants Who Have Rent Subsidies:

If you receive a subsidy by way of Section 8, FEPS, or any other rental subsidy in the SCRIE or DRIE programs, subletting may violate your program’s rules. It is always best to seek the advice of a respected real estate law firm like Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., before moving ahead.

Subletting Process

In order to legally sublet your apartment, there is a process you must follow.

First, submit a letter to your landlord by certified mail asking for their permission. The letter must contain the sublet term, the name of the subtenant, the business and permanent address of the subtenant, reason for subletting (including an intent to return), your address during the sublet term, written consent of any co-tenants, a copy of the proposed sublease, and a separate signed and notarized letter from you and the subtenant stating that the sublease is valid.The landlord is allowed a 10-day period in which they can ask clarifying questions or request additional information, but they cannot refuse without a valid legal reason.Landlords then have 30 days to respond with either a notice of consent or their reasons for refusal.


Subletting can be a great way to offset the cost of your home without breaking a lease. If a New York landlord tries to tell you that they do not allow subletting, it is important to know what you can and cannot do, according to your legal rights.

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