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Can I break a lease if I lost my job? I am signing up for unemployment.

Medford, NY |

Unemployment is not going to be enough to pay rent and utilities. My boyfriend can move in and pay my rent, landlord said no. I found a kitten and I am keeping her. Landlord said no. What are my options? I cant afford the rent.

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Attorney answers 3


You do not have a right to break a lease unless there are specific provisions in the lease that allow you to do so. If the landlord is not willing to let you out there is not much you can do about it. It is a contract and you have agreed to pay the monthly rent. If you do no pay you can be evicted. I suggest you try and negotiate with the landlord to be let out of the lease and do the best you can to pay in the interim.

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Unfortunately you don't have the right to break the lease.

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Dear what are my options?

New York State law allows you (if you have a lease, even if the lease says you cannot or the landlord says no) to have one roommate. That means your boyfriend can move in and can help you with the rent. He cannot pay the landlord. If he is willing to pay you so you can pay the landlord you are allowed to do so. That means you will afford the rent with your boyfriend's help.

The law that provides the right to a roommate is found in New York State Real Property Law section 235 - f, known as "Unlawful restrictions on occupancy"

"***2. It shall be unlawful for a landlord to restrict occupancy of residential premises, by express lease terms or otherwise, to a tenant or tenants or to such tenants and immediate
family. Any such restriction in a lease or rental agreement entered into or renewed before or after the effective date of this section shall be unenforceable as against public policy.
3. Any lease or rental agreement for residential premises entered into by one tenant shall be construed to permit occupancy by the tenant, immediate family of the tenant, one additional occupant, and dependent children of the occupant provided that the tenant or the tenant's spouse occupies the premises as his primary residence.***"

The cat is not as fortunate. New York (except in localities like NYC with its own Pet Law) does not provide such safe harbor for a found kitten.

If your lease does not allow pets, then your landlord might invoke the lease prohibition and demand you correct the violation of the lease. if you do not do so, then the landlord would be able to start a court proceeding to evict you for a breach of the lease (harboring an animal without the landlord's permission.)

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.