Posted by MikeW on July 23, 1998 at 11:33:05:
In Reply to: Illegal subletting...what am I getting into? posted by Lauren Schmidt on July 12, 1998 at 23:37:59:
Read betweent the lines here. The prime tenant is probably making a profit on
the sublet, and probably has been doing it for some time. That is why she is
doing it 'illegally'. I am assuming this is rent stabilized NYC apartment.
There are both risks and opportunities here. It all depends on how big a gambler
you are, and how ruthless you can be. Let me give you a little background. First
any profit on a sublet, above 10% for a furnished apartment, is illegal. You can
sue for triple the amount of the accumulated overcharge. If your there for a few
years, that can be a significant amount of $$$$. Make sure you can document any
money you give the prime tenant. Keep in mind, you may have a significant court
battle to collect.
Also, illegally subletting is grounds for eviction of the prime tenant (and by
extension, the subtenant). You can make this work in your favor by taking the
sublease, and then cutting a deal with the landlord to work with him in evicting
the prime tenant, in return for you getting the prime lease on the apartment.
Be VERY, VERY careful in doing this, as the landlord has no obligation up front
to give you the lease. If he can get the apartment empty, there are a number of
ways he can use to legally jack up the rent, and possibly get it off stabilization
(the Holy Grail of NYC landlordism), so unless get a lease up front, you could
easily be screwed. I'd use a go between, preferably a lawyer for this negotiation.
If you just take the sublet, and just live there, without taking the steps I describe
above, you could be fine for years, or you could get evicted right away, if the
landlord finds out. Is a crap shoot.
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