New York, NY asked in Elder Law, Health Care Law and Landlord - Tenant for New York

Q: When an adult relative moves into my rent-stabilized unit, what do I say if the landlord asks how long they'll be here?

I'm an age 72 disabled senior who has lived in my rent-stabilized apartment In NYC for over 30 years. Before Covid, I rented my second bedroom to college students from Japan to defray my monthly expenses. I have built up rent arrears this year because I've not been able to rent to foreign students. Last week, an age 64 male relative moved into the second bedroom and has been able to help me with both my monthly expenses and household chores. My building's superintendent asked me to draft a note stating how long my relative will be living with me. This is the first time I've been asked to say how long a housemate will be with me. I'm not sure if the request is Covid-related, but I know that I want to say the right thing in my note to avoid any problems. If it is Covid-related, the super might simply want to keep track of who's in the building for social-distancing reasons. The building still doesn't permit deliveries above the lobby and has signage to keep people apart. Please advise.

1 Lawyer Answer
Elaine Shay
Elaine Shay
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: The landlord appears to have no basis to ask you how long your new housemate may be staying with you. In NYC you are entitled to have a roommate even without your landlord's permission. Although the landlord may have inquired because of the Covid-19 crisis, it is perhaps even more likely you were questioned because your landlord is concerned your housemate may eventually become entitled to succession rights to your apartment. If you have a family member living with you that may eventually become entitled to succession rights, you have the right to notify your landlord and establish proof or residency by using the appropriate Notice. For example see:

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