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How can I report a tenant who is subletting illegally?

New York, NY |

My tenant threatened that she will not return my security deposit unless I find a roommate to replace my spot. However, finding another roommate to replace myself is nearly impossible because the space is so tiny. How can I file a report to the leasing office to kick all of her other roommates out if she doesn't return my security deposit?? Also we signed a contract before I moved in and it says to find someone to replace my spot if I leave early. HOWEVER, it doesn't say what kind of race, gender, etc I have to particularly find and she is asking for an asian roommate in particular. Is it also illegal for her to discriminately find tenants of a particular race?

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Attorney answers 3


Dear how can I report a tenant subletting illegally?

The only way to find out if you will win the security if the tenant does not voluntarily return your money is to sue in Small Claims Court.

I understand that you are sharing space in an apartment along with a tenant and other persons.

You could report the tenant to the City's Human Rights Commission. You could complain that the tenant made an oral demand to find a person of certain ethnicity to take over your room. There may be a need to file a formal complaint. Or you may not have standing as you are not the person who faced illegal discrimination and you have not found a person who otherwise could take your place but for an anticipated rejection by the tenant on prohibited grounds. I'm not certain if there is a ground for a person to complain about an anticipated act of discrimination in housing, but you could try to find out. This is the link to the City's Human Rights Commission:

If you want to turn your tenant in and perhaps cause her to face an inquiry from the landlord, you surely have the right to do so. If this action results in a lawsuit by the landlord against the tenant, you may likely testify as a witness (for either or both sides), you may be requested to provide a pre-trial deposition to preserve your testimony, and the landlord's attorneys may request you provide documentary proof of your claim.

Often, a tenant subletting without permission is reported by an employee of the landlord, as building personnel often come to know who lives in every apartment. If the building does not have eye witness employees, you may become vital to the landlord's case. The landlord may install a hallway camera to record the comings and goings in the apartment.

If you intend to be the spark that starts a fire burning you may consider that you may need a lawyer along the way. No way to tell how the tenant and her attorney may react to information that you were the instigator of the process that may cause her eviction.

Since you have a contract ( and you do not know in advance if a court, even Small Claims Court) may interpret the contract, from your own statement you agreed to find a replacement for your "tiny" space. If you do not try, by the terms of your contract you broke your agreement.

Usually, a security deposit may not be used for a rent claim, and almost always is used to assure the "landlord" a fund to make repairs to damage caused by the tenant beyond ordinary wear and tear.

You could review your "contract" for additional language that may cause you to lose your security deposit as "liquidated damages" in case you breached the contract.

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.


How to file a report. Easy if you have the leasing office's address send a certified letter.

If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore, NY 11710 Telephone -516.512.6333 Email -


Simply notify the management office of the illegal subletting. As to your security sue your roommate I'm small Lucia,s court.

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