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Getting on my partner's rent stabilized lease

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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Getting on my partner's rent stabilized lease

Postby ashleyinbrooklyn » Sat Jul 10, 2021 11:29 am

Hi all! Thanks in advance for helping me sort out a situation, there is so much knowledge in this group :)

I have been living with my boyfriend (partner, but unmarried) in a rent-stabilized apartment for the last three years. He's held the lease for 20+ years in a v old building so the rent is great and we want to stay here for the long haul.

His lease is due to renew at the end of the year and I'd like to get on the lease officially for a few reasons, stability of course but also because he is currently having visa issues and is stuck abroad due to the covid restrictions (he isn't a citizen). I'm scared that I could be kicked out of the apartment if he isn't technically in the country, so we are also a little nervous to even email the landlord about this request while he is gone.

Anyone have advice on the best way to go about this?
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Re: Getting on my partner's rent stabilized lease

Postby ashleyinbrooklyn » Sat Jul 10, 2021 11:47 am

+ I'm also interested in any thoughts regarding self-repair in a RS unit. Over the years my man has made a lot of updates to the apartment (new appliances and fixing the roof himself when the landlord wouldn't do it correctly) and I'm now getting a little worried that me asking to get on the lease might get the landlord's attention in a negative way. He's kind of suspicious and has tried to kick people out of the building for subletting etc. in the past so I don't want to do anything to jeopardize the lease.
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Re: Getting on my partner's rent stabilized lease

Postby TenantNet » Sat Jul 10, 2021 12:00 pm

First, if you are married, the RS law permits you to be added to your spouse's lease. The only thing the LL might be able to require is a copy of the marriage certificate.

But here you say you are not married. So you are a roommate, which is permitted (not just RS) by Real Property Law 235(f).

If unmarried, getting on the lease is really up to the tenant, you and the LL, but there might consequences down the road, so you should assess your relationship. If you break up and both are on the lease, then both have tenancy rights. If not on the lease, your rights as a roommate are limited, but the tenant can't just toss a roommate out on the street; they must go to court.

It used to be that added a person to a lease would trigger a vacancy lease increase, but it seems - from what I can tell - that is no longer the case. See https://rentguidelinesboard.cityofnewyo ... cy-leases/

Nevertheless, as the step is a legal obligation, you should consult with a tenant attorney to get a sense of all benefits and obligations (for both of you). Double-check if a new tenant on a lease will trigger anything.

OTOH, staying as a roommate would not trigger a vacancy lease.

As for the other issues you raise, visa, citizenship, etc., we don't have the expertise to comment.

Generally a RS tenant must actually live in the unit for 183 days per year; otherwise a LL can bring a non-residency court case. But like other things, I would imagine a court would consider the COVID travel restrictions as a viable defense. But as a precaution, both you and your BF should document everything and all costs you incur. He should get receipts for all costs he incurs outside the country, including hotel and restaurant expenses.

DO NOT offer any information to the landlord (even if asked) unless you are required to do so. I would stay low-key and under the radar.
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Re: Getting on my partner's rent stabilized lease

Postby TenantNet » Sat Jul 10, 2021 12:03 pm

Self-repair can get complicated. I would avoid doing anything that's major. Wait until he's back and you get the lease issue settled. Major repairs might give the LL reason to seek your eviction, even if needed.

Minor things should not get the LLs attention. As I said, lay low.
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