New York State’s Roommate Law. Really?

4 Replies

Section 235 (f) of the NYS real property law says that a tenant has the right to share their apartment with one additional occupant without first gaining the permission of the landlord. So, on top of their “right” to move in members of their immediate family (which includes in-laws, step relations, children, siblings etc) they may also move in someone who is not immediate family. That “occupant” includes the occupants dependent children as “one”.  Holy cow- it seems as though you could do a background check on your lessee and think you are good to go, but end up with 15 strangers living in your apartment!! 

I’d like to know how much of an issue this crazy law is for NY landlords and if I’m worrying excessively. Any tips/loopholes that can help this new almost-landlord to avoid big issues?


@Eileen Murray

Wow, are you serious? That is reason #1,023 on why its not worth investing in real estate in New York. Thanks for further solidifying on why I choose to invest outside of New York.

@Eileen Murray

Yes, these laws are probably a problem for Landlords.

I own 25 Apts currently and have been owning for 2 decades.

I am incredibly diligent in picking my tenants, but's that because Brooklyn is an incredibly in demand area where the vacancy rates are so low, that you can more likely have a very strict and stringent tenant screening process.

Typically, my tenants have to have over a 700 Credit Score, income of over $150k combined, no evictions, references from their previous landlords and have bank statements to prove they are up to date on their rents. All that for the pleasure to rent at $2k to $4k for a typical Brooklyn Apt.

In areas that are not as "in demand," I can imagine that you can certainly get into trouble because you cannot perform the due diligence that I can in my particular neighborhoods.

I actually buy only in these high demand areas because of the unlimited supply of quality tenants who can pass my due diligence. I've never had a problem renting and typically, I fill a vacancy within 2 weeks of advertising.

So I would say that laws like these seem to affect Landlords in areas where the demand is not high and you cannot weed out potentially bad tenants.

Just my opinion, of course.

When you do a prior landlord reference check, ask who lived in the unit. It's highly likely they will move over to your new unit. When you interview the potential tenant, ask who they plan to move in. Approach friendly not combative to increase likelihood of honesty.

Thank you for the tips. I agree that the problem is likely to be correlated with demand. Our first REI will close in about a week and it remains to be seen how in demand nice spacious apartments will be. Fingers crossed.

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