Ask an Expert: Different sublet rules for different co-op owners--fair or foul?
By Teri Karush Rogers |April 10, 2012 - 1:08PM
Q. In the co-op building where I own, we're supposedly not allowed to rent out our apartments for longer than two years in any seven year period.
The board has made an exception in at least one case that I know of, in which the same renters have been in place for four years and the apartment's owner (a cousin of the board president fyi) works/lives in London.
When I asked if it would be possible to extend the one-year lease for my current tenant by another two years, I was refused. Is this fair? Is there anything I can do about it?
A. The saying 'rules were made to be broken' also applies to co-ops. According to our experts, boards have broad discretion to bend the rules to account for different circumstances.
When it comes to potential sublets, co-op boards can nix them "for any reason, so long as that reason does not violate federal, state or local anti-discrimination statutes or otherwise run afoul of the law," explains real estate attorney Andreas Theodosiou of Braverman & Associates.
The board can even treat two shareholders differently as long as it has a legitimate, good-faith rationale, says Theodosiou.
It may have approved your neighbor's request based on a showing of financial hardship if the lease was turned down, for example. Or it may have rejected your request because your tenant hasn't behaved him or herself.
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