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Am I obligated to pay the remaining rent in my sublease agreement?

New York, NY |

I signed a sublease agreement (and my parents a guarantor agreement) saying that the lease term is until Aug 31, but I am leaving Jul 1. I gave 30 days written notice, per the contract and offered 3 reasonable replacement options. The sublessor has rejected each for dubious reasons (21 years instead of 23 years old, only looking to sublease for 2 months, etc.) and is demanding the rend for the two remaining months. I am wondering if my sublease is still valid as (1) the sublessor smoked in the apartment despite what is stated on the contract and (2) the sublessor gave me a lease (prior to signing sublease agreement) saying the rent was $2600, although I recently found out the rent is actually $2300 (and I am paying more than half), which was not my understanding at signing.

Attorney Answers 4


Dear New York "Subtenant":

You were never a subtenant, since you shared living space with the prime tenant. You were a roommate, and your parents should not ever have signed a "guarantee" agreement on a roommate rental that was dubbed a sublease. The guarantee makes your parents liable, if the prime tenant decides to sue for "damages." But that is still a remote event, so you should try to quiet this down with an attorney who may just help make this all go away with a letter to the prime tenant.

New York law affords a tremendous remedy to roommates charged more than a proportionate share of the "rent" if the apartment is rent stabilized. In such instances, aside from the recovery of a rent overcharge award (money damages), the overcharged roommate, would cause the rent stabilized tenant to also lose the right to the benefit and protection of the Rent Stabilization Law and Code. If the prime tenant is rent stabilized and you were charged more than one half the legal rent for the apartment you have "leverage" your attorney may use to your advantage.

If the apartment is not rent stabilized, New York law allows persons to make whatever arrangement that they agree upon for the rent. So if the prime tenant profiteered from your occupancy, there is no penalty for making money off you if the apartment is not rent stabilized.

Another clue that you are a roommate and not a subtenant, is that a legal subtenancy requires the landlord's consent in New York, and no landlord would consent to a sublease if the prime tenant were profiteering. And, if you were a subtenant, you would be charged the entire rent for the apartment, not a share of the rent.

You have legal rights, but you are not likely to pick up any useful information from lawyers who do not practice housing law in New York City.

Good luck.

The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.

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sublease is still valid

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You are bound by the terms of your "sublease." You mention , jhowever, that the subkessor" is smoking in the apartment. If the "sublessor" is living with you and she is the tenent, you are a roommate, not a subtenant. If you believe you have a right to submit a replacement "subtenant" pursuant to your agreement and your "sublessor" has unreasonably denied your request, you may have a remedy. That remedy may or may not be allowing you to break your agreement. An attorney would have to examine your agreement and the documentation you submitted in order to properly advise you.

If your apartment is Rent Stabilized, you are living in it simultaneously with the tenant and you are paying more than half of the monthly rent, you may have been overcharged and may have a claim against the tenant. Please refer to the following link for more on this matter.

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A sublease is a binding contract.

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