Legal Right To Have a Roommate

 

Generally, subject to certain exceptions (or to ensure compliance with other laws, rules, regulations and codes) under New York State's 'Roommate Law' (Real Property Law 235-f), any person occupying or entitled to occupy a residential rental premises (or a 'statutory' tenant) may have a roommate.

The details of this are as follows:

  • Any lease or rental agreement for residential premises entered into by one tenant shall be construed to permit occupancy by the tenant, the immediate family of the tenant, one additional occupant, and the dependent children of the occupant, provided that the tenant or the tenant's spouse occupies the premises as his or her primary residence.
  • Any lease or rental agreement for residential premises entered into by two or more tenants shall be construed to permit occupancy by the tenants, the immediate family of the tenants and the occupants and dependent child(ren) of the occupants; provided that the total number of tenants and occupants, excluding occupants' dependent children, does not exceed the number of tenants specified in the current lease or rental agreement, and that at least one tenant or a tenants' spouse occupies the premises as his or her primary residence.
  • The tenant shall inform the landlord of the name of any occupant within thirty days following the commencement of occupancy by such person or within thirty days following a request by the landlord.

The simple version

Any tenant in New York who rents an apartment and has only their name on the lease has the legal right to take in a roommate. The tenant just needs to let the landlord know the roommate's name within 30 days of the roommate moving in.

Disclaimer - This is for general informational purposes only and should not be treated as legal advice. The provisions of RPL 235-f cited above are abbreviated. We recommend you consult an experienced New York Landlord Tenant attorney if you require legal advice.

Further info:

Fair Housing Act

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