Ask an Expert

Ask an Expert: Do I need co-op board approval to leave my 19-year-old in my apartment?

Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral
By Teri Karush Rogers  |
May 15, 2012 - 3:36PM

Q. I'm moving to London for work and planning to leave my 19-year-old son in my co-op apartment. He will take in a roommate to cover some of the costs. Do I need to get the approval of the co-op board?

A.  You might, say our experts. The answer depends on what your proprietary lease says.

"Some proprietary leases provide that an apartment may be used by a shareholder and family members, usually including a spouse, children and parents," says real estate attorney Jeffrey Reich of Wolf Haldenstein Alder Freeman & Herz.  Courts typically interpret the "and" to mean that the shareholder (you) must be residing there at the same time--meaning you would need to get the board's approval to leave your son on his own.

If your proprietary lease says that you or a family member may reside in the apartment, you don't need to clear it with the board.

That said, if your son is collecting rent from his roommate, there is another issue.

"Under the Roommate Law, he can have a roommate but not a subtenant," says Stuart Saft, a real estate lawyer at Holland & Knight. "The fact that the roommate is paying your son to reside in the apartment could bring him under the definition of a subtenant, requiring board approval."

Trouble at home? Get your NYC apartment-dweller questions answered by an expert! Send us your questions. 

See all Ask an Expert.


Ask an Expert: How to get top dollar on your sublet

Ask an Expert: How can my co-op board find out how much rent I'm charging?




Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral

Teri Karush Rogers

Founder & Publisher

Founder and publisher Teri Karush Rogers launched Brick Underground in 2009. As a freelance journalist, she had previously covered New York City real estate for The New York Times. Teri has been featured as an expert on New York City residential real estate by The New York Times, New York Daily News, amNew York, NBC Nightly News, The Real Deal, Business Insider, the Huffington Post, and NY1 News, among others. Teri earned a BA in journalism and a law degree from New York University.

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.