Moving to NYC! Is It Legal To Sublet Your Apartment In NYC?

New York City, USA

The world is opening up and dreams of travel and moving abroad are once again on the cards.

What better place to explore than the USA. It’s a large country made up of 50 states. and boarders Mexico and Canada, so there’s pleanty to see and do. Living in hotels, Airbnbs and hostels is fun, but there comes a time when a base is needed and what better place to settle than NYC.

Settling in NYC is an adventure in itself, but once you’ve found a place to live, you’re going to want to keep hold of it, as decent properties in NYC are not always guaranteed. Visiting the rest of the USA can take time, a great idea then would be to sublet your apartment. This way you’ll have a home to go to on your return.

You will want to make sure you abide by the law, as you do not want to risk breaking the terms of your contract. Our focus today is on New York City and the legality surrounding subletting. Other cities will have different laws in place.

Subletting is when a tenant rents out their place to another person while they hold the lease agreement. In that case, the tenant remains liable for any damages and is still expected to remit rent to the landlord.

Small furnished apartment

Subletting is a great way for tenants to save money on rent by not terminating their lease agreement. It also saves them further house-hunting hassles in case they decide to return to the same place. On the other hand, sublets offer convenience to people looking for short-term stays on a budget.

Is it Legal to Sublet in New York City?

For starters, NYC allows tenants to sublet their rental units, provided they adhere to or meet certain conditions.

Conditions for Subletting

Subletting unfurnished or furnished apartments in NYC is governed by the New York City Sublease Laws. Under these laws, tenants are allowed to sublease their entire apartment or a single room in their apartment. If a tenant decides to sublet a room in their apartment, they are required to allow their guest access to other rooms in the apartment. Additionally, only tenants living in a building with four or more units can sublet.

Small furnished apartment

Even so, the law only allows tenants to sublet with the express permission of their landlord. For this, they need to make a formal request in writing and send it to the landlord by certified mail. The written request must include information about the tenant and the person intending to sublet.

Upon receipt of the request, the landlord has 10 days to ask for more information on the tenant and the subtenant. If the landlord fails to ask for additional information, they have to deny or approve the request for sublet within 30 days. Failure to do so will be considered as approval.

In case the landlord decides to deny the request for subletting, they need to provide a reasonable explanation. The law allows tenants to sublet even if their request was denied by the landlord in case they feel the denial was unreasonable.

However, there are exceptions to subletting in New York City. Tenants living in public housing, under the Housing Voucher Program, or in a rent-controlled building cannot sublet.

How to Sublet in New York City

A tenant may want to sublet their apartment but does not know how to go about it. In this section, we break down the process of subletting into easy-to-understand points for guidance on subletting.

Check Your Tenancy Agreement and Seek Permission

While the New York Sublease Laws allow tenants to sublet, most properties require the landlord’s consent for subletting. Pointers to whether your landlord allows subletting can be found in the lease agreement.

And even if the lease agreement allows subletting, the landlord’s permission still has to be sought in writing. The tenant must provide reasons for subletting.

List Your Apartment

Once you’ve confirmed that your landlord allows subletting, the next step is to advertise the apartment to attract potential subtenants. Your listing should have clear pictures of the apartment, accurate start and end dates of the sublet, financial requirements for the sublet, and a request for references and employment history.

Write a Formal Request

Once you’ve found a suitable candidate, you will need to seek permission to sublet by writing a formal request and sending it to the landlord via certified mail. The request letter should include:

  • Name of the chosen subtenant
  • Start and end dates of the sublet
  • Reason for subletting
  • Address of the tenant for the duration of the sublet
  • Address of the chosen subtenant
  • Copy of proposed sublet agreement
  • Amount of rent to be paid by chosen subtenant

Prepare the Apartment

After getting the landlord’s approval to sublet, you should do a bit of house cleaning in preparation for the incoming subtenant. Valuables and other fragile items should be stored safely, rooms organised, and emergency contacts provided to the subtenant.


Subletting offers convenience and savings to the tenant and the subtenant. It allows the tenant to either share their apartment with the subtenant or lease it out entirely.

New York City  allows tenants to sublet their units under the New York Subletting Laws. The laws provide guidelines under which tenants can be allowed to sublet and determine the overall process of subletting. The laws also rope in the functions and rights of the landlord in the subleasing process. Tenants are expected to observe laid down rules and procedures to be allowed to sublet.

Do you have any further questions? Let us know in the comments section below.

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