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How do I evict a subtenant who has not been paying rent?

New York, NY |

I am currently subletting my apartment, and I found out last month that the subtenant had not paid rent in three months (she had previously paid the landlord directly). Since I am solely liable for the lease, I paid the backpay in rent to avoid the charges affecting my credit, and the subtenant agreed to leave at the end of the month. However, she now refuses to leave and refuses to pay rent. Since the landlord did not grant permission to sublet the apartment, I am not sure whether or not to involve him in this situation. I would like to break the lease and get her out of the apartment ASAP, but I'm not sure how to treat this situation and what steps to take? (Note: Apt is in Manhattan; large pre-war building; not rent controlled; no official sublet agreement between myself and subtenant)

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Attorney answers 2


Dear tenant:

You have a serious problem. Your landlord has the power to declare you in default of a substantial obligation of tenancy unless you cure the default caused by subletting the apartment without permission; you cannot cure because your subtenant will not help you out and voluntarily move; the subtenant will not pay for the use and occupancy of the apartment because the subletting is improper and you have no evidence of an agreement to pay; and, you want to end your lease.

You do not have a right to break your lease at least not without risking that the landlord will hold you responsible for the remainder of your lease, and perhaps beyond, as you are primarily responsible for removing your subtenant.

I suggest that you consult an attorney to review these issues and advise you of your options in a confidential setting.

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.


You can serve a three day notice on your subtenant and then file a non-payment proceeding. I would not get the LL involved. The apt is probably rent stabilized and you should have received permission before subletting. If you want to give up the apt and it is rent stabilized the LL may be more than pleased to let you move and help with getting your subtenant out.