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Prime Tenant Trying to evict illegal subtenant.

Brooklyn, NY |

I subleased an apartment from an individual a year ago whose lease has expired. I wanted to stay in the apartment and do a co-tenant agreement with the person I subleased from. She seemed okay with the idea then had a change of hart and wanted me to move out a week before the lease expired (which was in February). We signed a sublease agreement which specifies that I was to move out on Feb. 28 and there would be no hold over under any circumstances, however, the landlord never gave consent to the sublease. I received a notice of petition to appear in court, by the prime tenant. This prime tenant hasn't lived in the apartment in over a year and I was making the rent payments in her name. I would like to know if the sublet agreement is valid at all and if the prime tenant can have me evicted

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Attorney answers 2

Posted

Your sublease agreement was valid between you and the tenant. Since the term of that sublease expired on February 28, the tenant now has the right to bring a holdover proceeding against you. The part of your sublease that says there would be no holdover in any circumstances is not enforceable in court. If the tenant accepted your rent for March you may have grounds to have the case dismissed.

The above constitutes general information only and should not be considered legal advice.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your response, however, I never paid the tenant the money I made direct payments to the landlord, but put the prime tenants name on all the money orders. Also, the prime tenants lease expired on Feb. 28 so they have no legal right to the apartment, they can still bring holdover proceedings against me? Can't I bring up the fact that the prime tenant hasn't lived there in a year and she an illusionary tenant?

Bruno Patrick Bianchi

Bruno Patrick Bianchi

Posted

If the tenant's lease has expired she no longer has a right to bring a proceeding against you since she no longer has a possessory interest in the apartment. Your tenant would be "illusory" if she was in league with the landlord and this was a Rent Stabilized apartment. You should consult an attorney.

Asker

Posted

I spoke with an attorney after receiving the court papers and was told although the prime tenant no longer has a legal right to the apartment, they have the right to bring me to court for not vacating the premises as the sublease stated, and that since the prime tenant is still being held liable for all rent while I'm in the apartment, they can bring me to court to vacate the premises and return it to the landlord. Is this so?

Bruno Patrick Bianchi

Bruno Patrick Bianchi

Posted

The court should not award the tenant a judgment against you under the circumstances you describe.

Asker

Posted

Why would the "no holdover" provision in the sublease be enforceable in court

Bruno Patrick Bianchi

Bruno Patrick Bianchi

Posted

It would not be enforceable because it is against public policy. Two unrepresented parties cannot agree to waive a statutory requirement.

Posted

Dear Brooklyn Subtenant:

Based upon your information, you would have a realistic chance to gain a court order dismissing the petition in the summary proceeding. You should consult an attorney to decide upon a strategy. You may answer the petition and state defenses. You may make a motion to dismiss the petition.

A petitioner in a summary proceeding must be entitled to "possession" of the leased premises, and the Court must find that right to possession is superior to the Respondent in possession.

A "former" tenant does not have a right to possession. It should not matter that your remaining in the apartment after the end of the sublease and lease caused the landlord to dun the former tenant for "rent", the proper lawsuit is by the landlord against you and the former tenant. The basis for the landlord's claim is that the tenant did not deliver vacant possession of the apartment at the end of the lease. But while the landlord would seem to have a legal right to maintain the proceeding, it would also seem the former tenant does not.

But for the moment, what is the point of forcing the landlord to start an eviction proceeding, if you succeed and dismiss the tenant's case? Based upon your information, the landlord would have a legitimate case against the tenant, and through that lawsuit, against you as well.

So consult with an attorney.

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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