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Not sure if my sublease is valid. Should I leave?

New York, NY |

I signed a sublease agreement with a tenant (lease holder) for a room from May 30-Oct 1. Their actual lease says no sublease will be valid unless signed by the landlord. The sublease I signed says it is not valid unless signed by the landlord. It was a template that the lease holder copy and pasted together from the internet. I pay rent directly to the lease holder. The landlord did not sign the sublease and the other three tenants (lease holders) and guarantor did not sign or get to review the terms of my sublease before I moved in. (There are four tenants/lease holders and one guarantor in a four bedroom apartment in a multi-apartment dwelling.) Those three and I have been having disagreements about my having people come out of town to stay with us for 3 days and up to two weeks. They asked me to only have my guests stay a few nights and I said no. Those three have now said that they would like me to leave if I will not follow house rules and take their wishes into account regarding my long term guests. They offered to give me a months rent because of the inconvenience if I agree to part ways and leave early. They said if I don't they will move forward with a 30 Days Notice of Termination. What should I do?

I did not pay a security deposit.

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Attorney answers 2


Dear New York Tenant:

You should hire an attorney.

Regardless of the words used in the cut and paste document cobbled from the Internet, legally you are not a subtenant, at most you are a roommate, and the big question will be which one of the alleged main tenants claims you to be their roommate, because that person may face an eviction proceeding for allowing too many other persons to live in the apartment.

You on the other hand, are also out of line in bringing other persons into the apartment. The "Roommate Law" allows for a tenant on a lease to have one roommate. Multiple tenants on a lease cannot have any roommates, at all. A roommate is allowed to have their dependents, as well. But not stay over guests.

See the New York Roommate Law (NY Real Property Law Section 235-f:

So it is likely, that with an attorney, you could do real damage to the four tenants for violating the terms of the lease and renting a room out to an additional person. It may cost you money for an attorney, but fighting you and a lawyer will likely cost the four tenants thousands of dollars, and the tenants will likely also run the risk that the landlord will get caught up in the lawsuit and then seek termination of the master lease.

Your move. You need a lawyer.

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.



I'm only here until October anyway. Is it worth it? I don't need to do them damage I just want to stay until October.

Steven Warren Smollens

Steven Warren Smollens


OK. So do you have a plan to stay through October that does not include hiring an attorney? If you do, Good Luck.



No I'm ok hiring an attorney. I just want to prove I'm right and they can't make me leave.


I agree with everything that Mr. Smollens has stated. In addition, beyond your legal position - you must consider the effects of your actions. Do you really want to go to court, win, and if you win, have to live in an apartment with these same people?
Litigation can be a good thing but too often clients forget the practical aspects and implications that go along with a law suit.

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