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Co-op Subletting Rules in NYC

Most co-op buildings in NYC allow owners to sublet for two out of every five years after an initial owner occupancy period of one to two years. Although specific subletting policies vary by building, virtually all co-ops use subletting as an opportunity to charge fees to raise money for the co-op corporation.

Even if your co-op building’s policies allow subletting, there is no guarantee that the co-op board itself will approve your sublet request. As a result, co-op ownership is primarily intended for owner-occupants who plan on residing in NYC indefinitely as opposed to investors.

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Can I Sublet My Coop Apartment in NYC?

Usually. Almost all co-op buildings in NYC permit some degree of subletting. Even if a co-op does not formally permit sublets, they may consider a subletting request from a shareholder due to financial hardship or a personal emergency.

Most co-op buildings in NYC will allow an owner to sublet for one to two years every few years. There is almost always a required initial owner occupancy period before a building allows subletting. Stricter co-op buildings will only permit subletting for a few years during the lifetime of ownership.

Co-ops with stricter subletting policies tend to be less expensive, as the subletting restrictions turn away buyers and ultimately reduce demand. Even if a prospective buyer has no plans to leave NYC, she or he will probably be turned off by a strict co-op sublet policy. After all, if a co-op is tough on sublets then it’s not a stretch to assume that they’ll be difficult on renovations and extremely harsh with enforcing building rules and levying penalties.

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What Is the Sublease Fee When Renting a Coop?

Subletting a co-op can be costly, as most buildings charge owners a sizable fee for sublets. This fee is usually a percentage of monthly maintenance, a fixed amount based on the number of co-op shares owned, or a sliding fee scale which increases over time.

Here’s an example of the subletting fee for a large, pre-war co-op in Greenwich Village:

An application fee of $500 ($100 each additional applicant) payable to Management and a refundable move in/out fee of $1000 payable to Co-op Corporation must accompany the hard copy of the application. You should also be aware that, if permission to sublease is granted, there is a sublease fee payable to the building equal to 12% of the apartment’s maintenance.

Here’s an example of the sublet fee schedule for a post-war building on the Upper East Side:

Certified, money order or attorney’s escrow check in the amount of $7.00 per share, payable to Co-op Corporation, representing annual sublet fee. If the lease term is for more than one (1) year, the annual sublet fee for the 2nd year must be submitted with package (non-refundable).

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Do I Have the Right to Sublet My Co-op in NYC?

No. Subletting your co-op apartment is subject board approval which means that it is by no means guaranteed, nor is it something you’re automatically entitled to as an apartment owner.

With that said, most co-ops in NYC are fairly reasonable and will permit subletting according to the building’s policy. Unfortunately, most of the press coverage and discussion about co-op subletting online is focused on the small handful of bad experiences owners have had with certain buildings which have sketchy co-op boards or other issues with mismanagement.

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Disclosure: Hauseit and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, financial and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. The services marketed on are provided by licensed real estate brokers and other third party professional service providers. Hauseit LLC is not a licensed real estate broker nor a member of any multiple listing service (MLS).

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