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50 Bayard Street, Unit 3H 50 Bayard Street, Unit 3H
Whether summering in the Hamptons or taking a seasonal gig in another part of the country (if not the world), June through September is a popular time for New Yorkers to get out of the city. It is important to note that one is still responsible for monthly payments during this time, which makes subletting an appealing option. But before listing your apartment for rent, read this to stay on top of the legalities and logistics of such a venture.

In this article:

Two Waterline Square, 30 Riverside Boulevard
Two Waterline Square, 30 Riverside Boulevard Riverside Dr./West End Ave.
One Manhattan Square, 252 South Street
One Manhattan Square, 252 South Street Lower East Side
Citizen360, 360 East 89th Street
Citizen360, 360 East 89th Street Yorkville
IKON, 50 Bayard Street
IKON, 50 Bayard Street Williamsburg
50 United Nations Plaza
50 United Nations Plaza Turtle Bay/United Nations

The legality of sublets


If you’re leaving town and looking to sublet for fewer than 30 days, we’re sorry to say that you may be out of luck: New York State and City laws prohibit this venture. Platforms like Airbnb remain legal in New York City, but such units must be registered with New York’s Short-Term Rental Registration Portal as per Local Law 18.

If you are going to be away for a month or longer, the city and state allow you to sublet your apartment. However, what your building allows you to do is a different matter.

Co-op owners


For co-op owners, the answer depends on the board. Some boards may outright prohibit sublets, or not allow them to take place until the owner has lived in the building for a certain amount of time. Still others allow subletting from day one, but may insist on approving subletters almost as strenuously as they do the main shareholder.
Condo owners


Condo owners have more leeway with subletting than their co-op counterparts, but that does not mean they get total carte blanche. Some condo boards will simply want to be informed of your plans, while others might want to meet candidates and have the authority to accept or deny them.


If you’re a renter, the situation is a bit more complicated. The NYC Rent Guidelines Board says that most renters are “entitled to request permission to sublet from the owner, and the owner may not unreasonably refuse such permission.” However, the guidelines further state that the renter must “inform the owner by certified mail, return receipt requested, no less than 30 days prior to the proposed subletting.” Moreover, the request must contain a) the term of the sublease; b) the name of the proposed sublessee; c) the business and permanent home address of the proposed sublessee; d) the reason for the sublet request; e) your address for the term of the sublease; f) written consent from any co-tenant or guarantor on the lease; and g) a copy of the proposed sublease (along with a copy of your lease, if available) acknowledged by the tenant and subtenant as a true copy of the sublease.

During the 30-day notice period, landlords may request additional information or documentation regarding your sub-tenant. If 30 days pass and the landlord does not say anything, you can legally assume they have granted approval by default and can move forward. You can also proceed if the owner “unreasonably withholds consent to sublet,” though this may prove more trouble than it’s worth.

The logistics of sublets

Once permission has been granted, the first thing to do is to determine how much you can charge. Some owners charge a “sublet allowance” (usually 10% of your rent), and you are permitted to pass this fee along to your subletter. If you are planning to leave the apartment furnished while you are away, you can add a 10% premium. But beyond these fees, you cannot legally charge more for your unit than you are paying.
Once you’ve found a subtenant for the price you’re charging, the next step is to sign a sublease agreement. This must contain the timeline, the reason for the sublet, the rent, the security deposit, and any relevant building rules. It must also include the subtenant’s name and contact information, as well as any required consents from co-tenants (e.g. roommates) or guarantors (yours or theirs).

The legality of home swaps


Unlike sublets, home swaps fall into a gray zone. It all comes down to how one interprets the law. One might say that if someone is in your unit when you’re not there, it is a sublet. Someone else might argue that as long as no money has exchanged hands, it is not a sublet. For this reason, in New York City, one should always proceed with caution when home swapping but not necessarily rule it out.


As a rule, if you own your own home—for example, a townhouse in Park Slope—you can do whatever you like for whatever period of time. If you own a co-op, you should definitely still check with your board. While the board may be flexible, most co-op boards will want to know who will be occupying your unit while you’re on vacation. In addition, some co-ops may place time limits on home swaps (e.g., only permit home swaps for up to two weeks). Condo residents may or may not face similar restrictions.


Again, when it comes to home swaps, renters will generally face more restrictions than owners. That said, according to New York State law, home swaps are technically legal. If you live in a class A dwelling (i.e., any building with three or more units), according to the New York Multiple Dwelling Law, the “incidental and occasional occupancy of such dwelling unit for fewer than thirty” is legal provided “the permanent occupants are temporarily absent for personal reasons such as vacation or medical treatment” and “provided that there is no monetary compensation paid to the permanent occupants for such occupancy.” In other words, a renter can do a home swap, provided it is less than 30 consecutive days in length. Still, renters are strongly advised to only proceed if they have first informed their unit’s owner and/or their management company, informed their neighbors, and if they live in a co-op or condo, received permission from the building’s board.

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Is it worth it?


Every year, thousands of New Yorkers enjoy the payback from swapping and subletting their homes. But how do you know whether yours will be worth it?


To answer this question, you first need to consider all the potential risks. If you’re worried that your decision to sublet may cause damage to your home, building, or long-term relationships with your neighbors or co-op board, you may not want to sublet or engage in a home swap. The short-term financial gain won’t be worth it if you create long-term problems in the process. Likewise, if you’re a renter and there is any risk your sublet might lead to an eviction, don’t do it. Even if you don’t love your current apartment, bear in mind that an eviction will tarnish your reputation as a renter and may impact your ability to rent in the future.



Corner living room 50 United Nations Plaza, #10C (Douglas Elliman)
In addition, consider which scenario will ultimately be more relaxing. Subletting or home swapping an expensive apartment may ease your mind during this especially stressful time. But don’t underestimate the stress associated with preparing your home for visitors, especially for strangers who will ultimately be able to leave a rating of you and your home on a public platform. It can take anywhere from a few hours to several days to properly clean and stage a home for visitors. In addition, if you're out of state and unable to answer messages or questions right away, it can be disquieting to worry about whether or not your sublesser has arrived and successfully moved in.



The bottom line is that if you are a) leaving for more than 30 days (or home swapping for less time); b) have gained permission to sublet or home swap from your co-op or condo board, immediate neighbors, and/or owner or manager; and c) can handle the stress of inviting strangers into your home, a sublet or home swap may be a great idea. If you’re at all worried about the logistics, preparation, and potential things that might go wrong in your absence, you may be better off leaving the dust to settle in your New York City apartment while you wait this out elsewhere.

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Available rental sublets

50 United Nations Plaza, #10C (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

IKON, #3H (Compass)

One Manhattan Square, #11A (Extell Marketing Group LLC)

Citizen360, #7C (Sothebys International Realty)

One Brooklyn Bridge Park, #924 (Compass)

99 John Deco Lofts, #1909 (Keller Williams NYC)

Two Waterline Square, #23K (Corcoran Group)

Lead image via Pixabay
Would you like to tour any of these properties?
Just complete the info below.
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Or call us at (212) 755-5544
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Contributing Writer Cait Etherington Cait Etherington has over twenty years of experience working as a journalist and communications consultant. Her articles and reviews have been published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and internationally. An experienced financial writer, Cait is committed to exposing the human side of stories about contemporary business, banking and workplace relations. She also enjoys writing about trends, lifestyles and real estate in New York City where she lives with her family in a cozy apartment on the twentieth floor of a Manhattan high rise.