My son and a couple of friends found an apartment in New York City. Landlord wanted a parental guarantor since they are college kids with no credit.
They have been great tenants all year with zero complaints and rent paid on time every month. The annual lease renewal came up and there was a noise complaint from a neighbor below.
Landlord sent this agreement with lease renewal:
"xxxxx Guarantor of apartment xxxxth Street, New York, NY assures that in the future if any complaints come into the Landlord/Owners’ office regarding noise after 10PM in the evening from said apartment causing the complaints will be given notice to vacate within 30 days and is accepting this notice and will abide by these rules. "
This seems over the top and Draconian remedy. One complaint (perhaps unfounded even?) and they are out? But, would this agreement even be binding over their existing rights as tenants? The lease obviously does not give the Landlord the right to kick them out over one noise complaint.
Dear New York Guarantor:
If you had an attorney review this proposal I am fairly certain your attorney would say do not sign. Here is the problem: The tenancy is not rent regulated--the landlord is not obliged to offer a renewal lease.
The landlord does not want to deal with another tenant's complaints about noise from the apartment. The landlord does not want to be stuck in the middle with one tenant making complaints and another tenant's rights to live normally in the apartment. Anyone may accidentally make improper noise at an improper hour. The neighbor's complaint to the landlord would not allow the tenants to offer a plausible and forgivable explanation. No court in NYC will ever allow a landlord to succeed in a lease termination case based on one tenant making one complaint during the course of the lease. Even were this clause added to the tenant's main lease, no court would consider one or two noise complaints sufficient cause to forfeit a lease.
If you simply walk away, the landlord may withdraw the lease offer and your son and his cotenants would need to leave. If you accept this clause it may not have any impact on the tenants but the landlord may claim a breach of the guarantee. How that could play out is left to the imagination. But if sued and even if the claim is total garbage; the guarantee alone if signed would be enough to save the landlord from sanctions or paying your attorney fees after you prevail and win the lawsuit.
You have to see this as right now, with the lease expiring, there is no future tenancy. Your lawyer may negotiate some other benign terms to placate the landlord, but obviously that is not certain.
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I agree with my colleague. However, I'm not 100% sure the LL can enforce such a weird clause, especially without due process. Guarantors usually are used to guarantee the rent payments not behavior in the rented apartment. Also, the clause as drafted appears to apply to the guarantor but not the tenants, so in essence it is poorly drafted and the guarantor is promising they will abide by the rules and vacate the apartment in which you aren't living. In any event, the LL will have to evict the tenants, in housing court if necessary, and at that point the tenants could defend themselves (for instance, forcing the LL to prove the noise came from their apartment and that the LL is not using a bogus request to break the lease which is a binding contract).
Any information offered is for general education purposes to assist readers with an overall understanding, and is not intended as specific legal advice. Each situation is different, requiring individual consultation and sometimes research before actual legal advice can be dispensed. No attorney-client relationship is created through the exchange of such information. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.
Assuming that your son's tenancy is not regulated, your son does not have an automatic right to a renewal lease. You do not have to sign the amendment. However, then the landlord has the option not to renew the lease. You can probably negotiate better terms with the landlord.
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