General rules for Rent Stabilized Tenants – class notes


Rent Stablization

Succession rights

General rule: If one lives with a traditional family member for two years or more, they can succeed to the rights of a rent-regulated tenant.

  • Traditional family member is defined as husband, wife, daughter, son, stepson, stepdaughter, mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather, grandson, granddaughter, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law of the tenant.
  • Nontraditional family members – for example, gay couples, an unmarried couple with a child, etc.
  • The court looks to the longevity of a relationship, expenses shared, intermingling of finances, “holding self out” as a family, formalizing legal obligations, (e.g. an in a will), behavior that evidences a long-term and emotionally committed relationship.
  • Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons: senior citizens (62 yrs. old or older) or disabled persons only have to live with the tenant for one year.

Interruption periods to the one and two year time periods are acceptable for certain reasons – full-time student, military service, hospitalization, temporary employment relocation, and other “reasonable grounds.”

Examples for discussion:

1. 25-year-old grandson lives with 97-year-old grandfather for four years. Grandfather moves to a nursing home.

2. A woman takes a one-year sabbatical to learn and teach in England.

3. Disabled 35-year-old daughter moves in with 60-year-old mother for 15 months. Mother must go into an assisted living facility.


General rule: One can sublet an apartment for up to two years, provided that you intend to return.

In rent-stabilized apartments, a tenant cannot make a profit. A tenant can charge 10% over the monthly rent if the apartment is furnished when rented (this rate is now set by the New York City Rent Guidelines Board). Tenant must intend to return to the apartment.

  • To sublet, a tenant must give the landlord notice and specify certain things to a landlord. A landlord must respond within thirty days and can request more information ten days later.
  • A landlord cannot deny sublet unreasonably. If this becomes an issue it i犀利士
    s resolved in court.

Example for Discussion:

Rent Stabilized tenant wants to sublet the furnished apartment to a friend while she goes to Florida for six months.


  • One can have a roommate. You cannot charge a roommate more than half the rent, or their fair proportion.

Primary residence

General rule: A tenant must reside in a rent-regulated apartment as his/her primary residence.

  • Primary residence = 183 days a year
  • Primary residence = where you pay your taxes, vote, drivers license, telephone number, bills, etc.


  • Rent Strike – the Run risk of the lawsuit
  • HP Action
  • File for Inspection with HPD or DHCR
  • Repair and Deduct – Run the risk of the lawsuit

General ideas to help protect Tenants

  • Writing letters from yourself and your lawyer.
  • Organizing tenants in a building.
  • See a lawyer before making any decisions concerning your apartment. You may not be aware of the rights that you have.

The rules and ideas stated above are general and only to be used for general guidance. This is not legal advice. The author, Justin C. Brasch, Esq., advises everyone to consult with a Tenant attorney before making any decisions based on anything from this class or concerning their apartment/residence.

Top Author

Justin Brasch
Justin C. Brasch is the founding partner of the Law Offices of Justin C. Brasch and has practiced Landlord/Tenant and Leasing law for over 20 years. His areas of practice include Business & Commercial Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Landlord-Tenant, Leasing, New York City Building and Fire Code Violations, and Real Estate Law.Mr. Brasch has substantial experience and expertise litigating landlord-tenant and complex commercial and residential real estate disputes. Before establishing his firm in 1996, Justin Brasch was a litigation …

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