A landlord cannot unreasonably refuse a request to sublet an apartment in New York according to Real Property Law 226B.
If they outright ignore the request - and you followed the correct procedure for making a request - then the sublet is deemed approved.
If they refuse your request then is has be based on objective criteria, like the financial situation of your proposed subtenant.
A landlord has 10 days from the date that you sent your request to ask you for more information about your subtenant. They can ask you for identity verification, a background check or financial information on your proposed tenant.
A refusal is considered reasonable if they landlord reviews this information and finds that the proposed tenant does not meet certain, related, requirements. For example, if they are unemployed or have a poor credit history.
A refusal is also considered reasonable if you live in a rent stabilized apartment and you don't have an intention to return to the apartment. You're required by NYC Administrative Code 26-4-11 to keep the apartment as your primary residence in order to legally sublet.
If your landlord withholds consent for reasonable cause and you proceed with the sublet, the landlord has the right to evict you.
If they do not respond to your request within thirty days then this considered consent to the sublet.
If the landlord refuses for a reason that is considered discriminatory or unreasonable - in other words if it isn't listed above - then you may sublet the unit anyways and defend any challenge brought by the landlord in court. If the court agrees with you you have the chance to have any attorney fees and lost rent money paid for by the landlord.
In 2001's Mickenberg VS Gabriellini, the landlord refused a request to sublet based on "conjecture that the move wasn't really transitory or temporary in nature." The court that this was an unreasonable refusal of consent. Here, the court made the larger point that the purpose of the New York statute was to permit "bona fide sublets of apartment premises when they are not in use during a period of housing shortage," saying that any different ruling would be contrary to the intention of the law.
In 2003’s H.S. Realty Associates, Inc. VS Meade-Harvey, the property management firm tried to evict tenants in a rent stabilized apartment who requested a legal sublet so they could live in a different part of the city while on work assignment. The firm required the tenants to complete two forms with 56 questions and detailed charts, and the judge rules that this request was “unduly burdensome,” that the tenants made their request correctly and granted them an injunction so that they could proceed with their sublet.
In 1983's Fisher VS AJ Clarke Management Corporation, the court granted a court order to allow a sublet proposed by a tenant in a rent stabilized apartment. The landlord objected based on the tenant trying to charge an extra furniture charge that they said was too high, and the court said that the landlord's objections did not meet the standard of reasonableness. Th
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