Subletting in New York

Under New York City laws, tenants in a building with four or more units can sublet their apartment.
Written by Heather Bernhard
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Jun 01, 2022
According to New York law, you can legally sublet your apartment or rent your apartment to another person temporarily.
If you wish to sublet your apartment in
New York
, you must follow a few laws. For example, you must intend to return to your rental unit eventually—if you plan on moving out entirely, that is a wholly different procedure.
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New York State law permits almost all tenants to sublease their apartments. However, there are a few rules and regulations that apply: 
  • The building must have four or more units
  • The facility must NOT be classified as Section 8 housing 
  • You must plan on returning to your apartment within two years
  • The sublessee (your tenant) must be at least as qualified as you
  • Even though you have the right to sublet, you still must notify your landlord first
If your apartment is rent-stabilized, you may still sublet, but there are special rules. For instance, you can’t charge more than 10% above what you pay for rent—and you can only upcharge if the apartment is furnished.
It is important to note that even if your lease explicitly bans subleasing, you can still do it under state law. Any clause stating otherwise is illegal and unenforceable. 

How to sublet an apartment in New York

To sublet your apartment in New York City, you must submit a formal request to your landlord. The request must be made in writing and sent via certified mail, with a return receipt requested. Without prior notification to your landlord, a sublet will be deemed illegal. 

Get permission from your landlord

You must include the following information in your request: 
  • The start and end date of the sublet
  • The name of the proposed subtenant
  • The address of the proposed subtenant
  • The tenant's reason for subletting
  • The tenant's address for the term of the sublease
  • The amount of rent your subtenant will pay you
  • A copy of the proposed sublease
Once your landlord receives the request, they have ten days to request additional information, such as pay stubs or tax records. If they do not respond within 30 days, their silence is considered consent.

Can my landlord reject my sublet request?

Under New York law, a landlord cannot unreasonably refuse your right to sublet your apartment. However, there are some circumstances under which they can withhold the opportunity. 
For example, if the sublessee is unemployed, has bad credit, or has a recent bankruptcy, your landlord may refuse the sublet. The landlord also may deny the sublet if it is clear the original tenant never intends to move back in. 
Even under the circumstances mentioned above, you may challenge the landlord’s decision. Ultimately, the original tenant (you) is responsible for paying rent and on the hook for any damages—that means the sublessee’s finances are less relevant.
If you sublease your apartment and your subtenant fails to pay rent, the landlord can sue you and even evict you. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you have a written contract in place that outlines the terms of the sublease. The contract should include the length of the sublet, payment details, and who is responsible for damages.
Key Takeaway Make sure to have a sublet agreement in place to protect yourself from future liability. Without it, the landlord can sue you for lost rent or damages, and even evict you. 

How to save on renters insurance in New York

If you decide to sublease your NYC apartment, you might think you should cancel your renters insurance policy. This is not the right move! Renters insurance will cover the loss or damage to any personal belongings you leave behind. Plus, the liability will protect you if anyone gets injured on the property. 
Worried about additional costs? Don’t be. 
Having a sublessee in your apartment doesn’t have to raise your rates. With Jerry's car insurance comparison app, you can save on renters insurance by bundling it with an
auto policy
Even better?
will compare rates from 50+ of the nation’s top insurance companies, so you’re almost guaranteed to save money! That’s definitely something you need when you’re living in New York City. 
Reach out to us today to get started!
was absolutely worth it. I saved $150, which might not sound like a lot, but really helps me as a New York City resident.” —Jameson T. 
Key Takeaway Renters insurance is vital when you’re subleasing your apartment. It can help protect you from damage to personal goods, theft, and liability. Just remember to let your insurance company know that you plan to sublease, or your policy could get canceled!
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