Rent Coach

Rent Coach: Cheapest 2-bedroom neighborhoods; does a boyfriend have roommate rights?

By Mike Akerly  | July 28, 2011 - 7:45AM

Q. My roommate and I just moved to the city and we're on a tight budget. What neighborhoods will have the best prices for a two bedroom rental?

A. In July, the least expensive two bedroom apartments south of Harlem were in Midtown West, where the average rent for a two-bedroom in a non-doorman building was around $2,850.  

You could also try the Upper East Side, where you should expect to pay around $3,175 in walk-up buildings located east of Second Ave. 

If you are set on living downtown, the East Village is your best bet with the average price of a non-doorman, two bedroom apartment coming in around $3,300. Your budget won’t go far in the West Village or SoHo where you can expect to pay at least $3,600 for a two-bedroom walk-up that will likely be significantly smaller and/or less renovated than you would find in many other neighborhoods. 

Many of these apartments at these price ranges will require that you keep an open mind about compromise with regards to your wish list and priorities.     

Q. My landlord told my roommate and I that our lease doesn’t permit my boyfriend to move in with us, but my friends told me that because of the Roommate Law, my landlord has to let him.  Who is right?

A. Your landlord is correct. 

The Roommate Law was passed primarily to stop enforcement of a widespread lease provision prohibiting anyone but the named tenant and their immediate family from occupying the apartment. 

Under the Roommate Law, however, only tenants who live alone are allowed to have an additional roommate who was not named in the lease whether or not that roommate is a family member.  Since you already have two named tenants occupying the apartment, you are not entitled to a third roommate unless that person is an immediate family member.

If your roommate were to move out, however, your landlord would have to allow your boyfriend to move in.

Mike Akerly is a New York City real estate attorney, landlord, and real estate broker. Rent Coach also appears in AM New York's Thursday real estate section.



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