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Are All Subleases Legal?

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Are All Subleases Legal?

Postby JaneB82 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:10 pm

Is a sublease from a company that was (and may still be) renting apartments as a hotel (that it does not own, but rents) legally binding?

In other words, it is renting residential apartments and subletting them as short term rentals. If there is a 6 month lease with such a company, is it legally binding?
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Postby ronin » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:22 am

A six month lease has nothing to do with an illegal hotel. The LL could simply give you a monthly lease or month to month. Absent a regulated situation a LL could rent for 1 or more months. The year term of most leases is just the standard and few people are interested in agreeing to shorter terms because of moving expenses.

What they do with other people, if indeed a hotel style situation, would probably not help you if their 6-month lease with you is valid.

So yes, it probably is enforceable IMHO. However, if they gave you a 6 month lease it is probably not a hotel situation for anyone.
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Postby JaneB82 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:06 pm

I'm talking about a SUBLEASE. Company rents from landlord, and sublets to short term renters.

I'm NOT talking about a lease directly from the landlord.
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Postby concord » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:30 pm


If the subject units in the hotel are rent-stabilized then the LL is not allowed to rent out units to tourists or to anybody who would not be considered a ‘permanent tenant’.

There would have to be something illegal about a ‘subleasing company’ taking units and renting them out short-term. A stabilized hotel unit is meant for ‘permanent tenants’ and not transients or the short-term.

You may be witnessing a new and creative way for LL’s to bury their illegal short-term renting of units to tourists.

If you are disturbed by the increased human traffic in the building try to find out if the units, that are being occupied by short-term rentals, are rent-stabilized.


Most people don’t know that hotel units can be rent-stabilized (and therefore not legally rentable for short-term use) and many LL’s just get away with it.

There is a special unit that handles this specific type of complaint. DHCR can guide you to it; its name resembles “City Task Force…”

I’ve used them in the past; it takes plenty of persistence and phone calls but eventually they will address your complaint if you stay with it. I got them to send over three inspectors in one instant; they knocked on every tenant’s door and they asked to look inside and they asked the tenants questions. In doing so they can easily determine if the subleasing is illegal. (Remember, you must be certain that the units are stabilized before you go on this crusade.)

This following link is merely a reference to the many types of hotels that may contain rent-stabilized units.



Furthermore, when anybody subleases a unit, he/she may not charge more than the actual legal rental of the unit (except for a 10% surcharge applicable if the unit is furnished.) If this subleasing company, to which you refer, is charging more than that and profiting then their action is illegal (if the units are rent-stabilized).
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Postby Cranky Tenant » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:26 pm

JaneB82 wrote:I'm talking about a SUBLEASE. Company rents from landlord, and sublets to short term renters.

I'm NOT talking about a lease directly from the landlord.

How is this different from a Management Company that issues leases and collects rents for a third party landlord?

I've seen commercial spaces where someone rented the entire building and then subdivided the space, sometimes allowing tenants to live there illegally. I think you really need to tell us more about the building, maybe look up the zoning, for us to understand whether or not it seems illegal.

If there's any possibility the building contains rent stabilized units you should contact DHCR to confirm.
I'm a cranky tenant NOT a cranky lawyer.
Cranky Tenant
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Postby ronin » Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:36 am

It doesn't matter whether the LL or a Prime tenant is doing the illegal hotel. The reason the management company can mange is that they are presumably issuing legal leases (and have a license to do so).

OP your concern about whether the lease is legally binding is a red herring. It is legally binding whether 6 months or 6 years. The important question is whether or not illegally subletting to avoid rent regulations is a violation of the lease. That is a yes. The subleases are problematic as they never really had a right- but they can sue for overcharge.

However, you can't do anything about it if the LL wants to allow it (in lease terms that is, you can complain to DHCR, HPD about regulation violations). But in lease terms you can sue the LL and Prime tenant for nuisance and other common law and statutory actions for turning your home into a revolving door.
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