Can your landlord forbid you from getting a roommate

With the rental market being so tight and expensive in the City of New York, the landlords are becoming really picky about who they rent their precious properties to, and to make the selection process as close to the one, described by Darwin, as possible, they come up with the long lists of rules and regulations for their prospective tenants.

That, plus ridiculously high rental prices for more than moderately sized apartments, make outsiders shake their heads in disbelief. Is it really possible? Does it really worth it, to pay that much for a small New York size apartment, that is so difficult to get?  Well I guess you could justify doing it, it is New York after all, but excuse me, after going through seven circles of hell, trying to get your first apartment in the city, you thought you can rejoice, holding the keys and the copy of the lease in your hands, but no, not so fast! Now you realize, that even though you have paid an exorbitant amount of money to move in, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the apartment is yours, to do whatever you want with it. “Here is your set of keys, please sign over here, and remember, that by signing this copy you agree to the tenant rules and regulations”…Such as, no pets, no roommates, not drilling any holes in the walls, not painting the walls, not changing or installing any additional locks on the door and other things like this, that make no sense, if you really think about it.

So, what to do, if you just realized that you are, technically, not allowed to breathe in the apartment you gave half of all your savings to move in to? First thing would be to check the tenant laws in NYC to see how many of the rules imposed on you by the building management are legal. Good websites to go to would be  (New York state Attorney General), and other sites like this.

you are allowed to rent out a room in NYC

The other good thing to do would be trying to speak to your landlord about possible exceptions he could do for you, for, as you know, nothing is impossible and things are always turn to be good for the good people. I think all, those rules are simply the landlord’s attempt to protect themselves from all sorts of unreliable, inadequate people that can be found in New York in large.

I’m sure you can solve pretty much any kind of issue you and your landlord might have, if you just put your mind to it, but here are some common concerns that people might face at the very beginning of the process and possible tips on how to solve them.

The common rule, that hurts the most is the “no-pet” policy that so many building managements stick to. For all of you, pet lovers, you have legally backed up ways to keep your pet if you have one or are thinking about getting one If you manage to keep your pet in the building for three month. If you do this, the “no-pet” clause in your lease should be waved, as you have been keeping your pet “openly and notoriously” and your landlord failed to address the issue properly. The other way is to get your pet an ESA registration. ESA stands for Emotional Support Animal which can not be denied by any building management as it concerns the tenant’s health issues. You might need to prove that your emotional health is really in danger though.

The second good one is “no shares” clause in your lease, meaning that you are not allowed to have a roommate. Good news is, that, by law, every tenant has a right to have one roommate in his apartment and that particular roommate gets the right to bring children or other family members to live with him/her. This right can only be taken away from you if there is more than person on your lease, or if you live in a government subsidized building.

And then, there is one ridiculous rule that makes it impossible for a young professional to get an apartment he/she wants – the 40 times the rent income to qualify for an apartment. Looking at the prices in the city, it is really tough for prospective tenants to meet the requirements, even if they CAN afford paying this much rent each month. Well… again there are ways to overcome this, you can certainly get an apartment without meeting income requirements if you have additional sources of income that can be verified, savings (enough to cover a year of rent or more) or guarantors.

Just remember, nothing is ever as bad as it looks, and whatever horror stories you’ve heard about finding a place to live in NYC, don’t let it intimidate you. Here, just like anywhere else in the world, the landlords want their peace of mind, and as long as they see you as a responsible and reliable tenant they will take steps to make it possible for you.

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