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Adding Spouse to RS apt

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

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Adding Spouse to RS apt

Postby REVCHUCKY » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:10 am

I wish to add my spouse to the lease as co-tenant. The Leasing Manager refuses unless we fill out an occupancy application. I countered that since was my partner and now is my wife, she will now move from occupant to co-tenant. A Succession Form has been on file since 1997. Am I able to insist on addition without further application?
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Re: Adding Spouse to RS apt

Postby REVCHUCKY » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:11 am

this is in NYC.
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Re: Adding Spouse to RS apt

Postby TenantNet » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:09 am

Short version: yes, assuming this is a rent stab unit in NYC. Adding a spouse to a lease is different from succession, where the successor is not (although could be) a spouse or domestic partner.

See the Rent Stab Code, section 2522.5 (g):

(g) Same terms and conditions.

(1) The lease provided to the tenant by the owner pursuant to subdivision (b) of this section shall be on the same terms and conditions as the expired lease, except where the owner can demonstrate that the change is necessary in order to comply with a specific requirement of law or regulation applicable to the building or to leases for housing accommodations subject to the RSL, or with the approval of the DHCR. Nothing herein may limit the inclusion of authorized clauses otherwise permitted by this Code or by order of the DHCR not contained in the expiring lease. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the tenant shall have the right to have his or her spouse, whether husband or wife, added to the lease or any renewal thereof as an additional tenant where said spouse resides in the housing accommodation as his or her primary residence.


Based on my reading, while a domestic partner (same sex or not) may have succession rights, they do not have rights to be added to the lease unless married. A same-sex spouse would likely have the right to be added to a lease. The operative word is that the couple are married.

A landlord might demand a copy of a marriage certificate before making the change, and that might be seen as a reasonable demand. Best to get a certified copy stamped by the City Clerk's office. You should also have proof that the apartment is the spouse's primary residence in case the LL wants to object on that basis.

There are occasional questions if the LL is required to amend a lease that is currently in effect, or wait until the next renewal (max. of 2 years out). From what I've seen, LL's are required to amend a current lease. See here: https://www.landlordvtenant.com/sites/l ... 0007RO.pdf

In your question, you said the LL wants you to complete an "occupancy application." So what is that? You don't say. Understand that RS tenants have the right to automatic renewal on the same terms and conditions, except as provided above. But note that adding a non-spouse roommate to a lease can trigger a vacancy lease along with large rent increases.

A renewal lease would be subject to current RGB increase, but a vacancy lease would mean vacancy increases, which are much larger. Adding a spouse to a lease DOES NOT trigger a vacancy lease. So you must refuse that. And all renewal leases MUST be on DHCR form RTP-8. http://www.nyshcr.org/Forms/Rent/rtp8.pdf
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Re: Adding Spouse to RS apt

Postby REVCHUCKY » Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:16 pm

Thank you, The new management is attempting to gain info for background check, I believe. I am baffled why any application would be required. I will send the request for adding her to the lease - certified of course - to the leasing office and a copy to the Actual Owner. I will give a two week window to answer before complaing to HPD. Anything else I did not think of?
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Re: Adding Spouse to RS apt

Postby TenantNet » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:22 pm

I would not supply any info towards a background check. Remember, this is a statutory right and all you have to do is provide proof of actual marriage. This is NOT adding a person to a lease where they need to look at the person's background and financial ability. You do NOT have to prove the person is able to pay the rent or his/her portion of the rent.

The only document required should be the marriage certificate issued by the NYC City Clerk. Nothing else.

If the LL fails to comply, I would consider filing a complaint with DHCR for failing to offer a proper lease (although DHCR is known to be anti-tenant and can take years). If it's that important, you could consider going to court.

I don't think HPD would have any jurisdiction in this unless you're in some sort of HPD approved or assisted situation.

Of course you can also consult with a tenant attorney to see what your options are.
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Re: Adding Spouse to RS apt

Postby REVCHUCKY » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:17 pm

Thank you. DHCR, ok thanks again.
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