Highland, NY asked in Landlord - Tenant for New York

Q: Does the NYC roommate law apply to studios? I was told that if 2 people live in a studio both have to be on the lease.

I wanted to lease a studio in NYC and live with my boyfriend, but since I would be paying the majority rent and my boyfriends credit isn’t great, I wanted to lease the apartment (be the sole applicant) and then take him on as a roommate/occupant. The NYC roommate law seems to say that any tenant can take on one roommate as long as they notify the landlord. We toured an apartment yesterday, and the manager told us this law does not apply to studios so we’d both have to be on the lease.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Steven Warren Smollens
Steven Warren Smollens
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Dear NYC Tenant:

It is the other way around. Two tenants named as tenants on one lease are not entitled to an additional Roommate if both tenants live together. One tenant is ALWAYS entitled to the choice of a Roommate. The statute does not exclude Studio apartments.

***2. It shall be unlawful for a landlord to restrict occupancy of

residential premises, by express lease terms or otherwise, to a tenant

or tenants or to such tenants and immediate family. Any such restriction

in a lease or rental agreement entered into or renewed before or after

the effective date of this section shall be unenforceable as against

public policy.

3. Any lease or rental agreement for residential premises entered into

by one tenant shall be construed to permit occupancy by the tenant,

immediate family of the tenant, one additional occupant, and dependent

children of the occupant provided that the tenant or the tenant's spouse

occupies the premises as his primary residence.***


Even when focused on the NYC Local Law relating to a maximum number of persons in a single dwelling, there is no mention of a Studio unit being legal for two tenants but illegal for one tenant and a Roommate. The only criterion is Space, which controls tenant plus tenant and tenant plus Roommate without regard.

§ 27-2075 Maximum permitted occupancy.

a. No dwelling unit shall be occupied by a greater number of persons than is permitted by this section.

(1) Every person occupying an apartment in a class A or class B multiple dwelling or in a tenant-occupied apartment in a one- or two-family dwelling shall have a livable area of not less than eighty square feet. The maximum number of persons who may occupy any such apartment shall be determined by dividing the total livable floor area of the apartment by eighty square feet. For every two persons who may lawfully occupy an apartment, one child under four may also reside therein, except that a child under four is permitted in an apartment lawfully occupied by one person. No residual floor area of less than eighty square feet shall be counted in determining the maximum permitted occupancy for such apartment. The floor area of a kitchen or kitchenette shall be included in measuring the total liveable floor area of an apartment but the floor area for private halls, foyers, bathrooms or water closets shall be excluded.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.