Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: Is my next-door neighbor allowed to sublet her apartment indefinitely?

By Dianne Ackerman  | March 8, 2019 - 12:00PM

You need to find out what the rules are in your building.


My next-door neighbor is subletting and I think she has been there well over a year. Is that allowed? Signed, A Following-the-Rules Shareholder

Dear Rules,

How sublets are handled are part of your proprietary lease and each building has different rules. There are many Manhattan apartment buildings that do not allow any sublets (or even sleep-over guests unless the tenant is at home), but most allow them with some limits. 

So, while a building may allow a one- or two-year lease, others may allow them forever. You need to find out what the rules are in your building and you may seek clarification from your board. Most subletters need to pay a fee, so if a subtenant has overstayed their lease, the building is losing money. 

My building has no limit, however, my board is vigilant about collecting those fees. Also, we interview all new prospects but allow people who have been interviewed to renew without another meeting. We also only allow a tenant to lease for two years maximum at a time. A co-op building needs to be careful about having too many sublets because a bank may consider it a rental building and deny mortgages to prospective owners. 

Of course, you may also do the neighborly thing by bringing over a tray of cookies and asking (politely) how long your neighbor is planning to stay.

Ms. Demeanor

Dianne Ackerman is the new voice of reason behind Ms. Demeanor. She has lived in her Upper East Side co-op for the past 20 years and is the vice president of her co-op board. She is filled with opinions that she gladly shares with all who ask—and some who do not. Have something that needs sorting out? Drop her an email


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