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Is It Worth the Risk to Sublet an Apartment Illegally?

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Q: I’ve been renting an apartment in Manhattan’s Doorman Cooperative Building for nearly two years. My lease is expiring soon, but I cannot renew it due to Co-op board policy. (The board has already denied my lease extension request). The unit owner, my landlord, lives abroad and does not want to sell the apartment. So we’ve been talking about another option: continue to borrow from her under the table even after my lease has expired. What do you think of this idea? What is the worst case scenario? Is it a risk worth taking?

A: This is not recommended, especially for landlords who are shareholders of cooperatives. The cooperative board has many tools at their disposal to make her life miserable.


Assuming the board knows you haven’t moved — this is a doorman’s building, and the doorman usually watches who comes in and out. Most co-ops have strict rules regarding sublettes. There are no exceptions for landlords if your building enforces these rules.

“It’s generally not a good idea,” said Nancy L. Coolland, a real estate attorney in the Manhattan office of law firm Lasser-Law Group. and may even sue shareholders, he added. Sale of condominiums.

So what will you do? Relations with landlords will deteriorate rapidly. You will have to deal with this from a foreign country and will be under a lot of pressure to kick you out. All the while she’s been piling up fines from the cooperative board and could be held liable for the legal costs.

Timothy L. Collins, the attorney representing the tenant, sees scenarios in which legal fees and damages may be claimed depending on the terms of the contract signed with the landlord and the final outcome. . “The point is, as a general rule, illegal subleasing is by no means very wise,” said Collins, a partner at Manhattan law firm Collins, Dobkin & Miller.

Therefore, both you and your landlord should ask yourself before agreeing to extend this arrangement. Do you really want this kind of stress?

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