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, unmarried couple with a child, etc.
  • The court looks to longevity of relationship, expenses shared, intermingling of finances, “holding self out” as a family, formalizing legal obligations, (e.g. a 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. 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 landlord. Landlord must respond within thirty days and can request more information ten days later.
  • Landlord cannot deny sublet unreasonably. If this becomes an issue it is resolved in court.


Example for Discussion:

Rent Stabilized tenant wants to sublet furnished apartment to 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.

Luxury Decontrol

  • Two part test: 1) Rent over $2,500 and 2) Household Income over $200,000 for past two years

Example: Family has income of $202,000 in past year and an income of $188,000 the year prior.

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

General Ideas to Help Protect Tenants

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


There are no prerequired tutorials for this tutorial.

Facebook comments:


    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 ...