If my subleaser didn’t pay, am I responsible for everything?

My landlord and I subleased the apartment, when I got deployed overseas, for the remainder of my lease, and I got my security deposit back from her. The subleaser didn’t end up paying and I am being pursued for two months rent and the security deposit I got back. Is there anything I can do to get the money from the subleaser?

Asked on July 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York


Mark Siegel / Law Office of Mark A. Siegel

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In NY when you sublease an apartment with the landlord's consent, a separate landlord-tenant relationship is created between the sublessor (you) & the subtenant. The subtenant has no liability to pay rent to the landlord, since the subtenant has no contractual relationship (no agreement) with the landlord. Therefore, the landlord is within his rights to legally seek the unpaid rent directly from you, the tenant. By the same token, you have a separate landlord-tenant relationship with the subtenant, which allows you to bring a claim against the subtenant for the unpaid rent.

If the amount of your claim is within the jurisdictional limit for small claims court, you may be able to start a small claims case against the subtenant by paying a relatively inexpensive court filing fee. You do not need to be represented by an attorney in small claims court, but you can choose to be represented by an attorney if you wish. Good luck!       

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