Is it illegal for someone to rent an apartment for you?

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Is it illegal for someone to rent an apartment for you?

Meaning he doesn’t live there but the lease is in his name.

Asked on May 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is not against the law, but it may be against the lease. The lease is a contract; its terms will control what is and is not allowed. If the lease states that only those persons on the lease, or otherwise approved by the landlord, may reside there, then you could not live there unless the landlord authorized it. Also, if the actual tenant represented, or stated, to the landlord that he or she would be living there, but instead does not and someone else does, that might constitute fraud (a misrepresentation knowingly made to induce someone to enter into a contract), in which case, the landlord might have grounds to rescind or void the lease.

So person A renting somewhere while person B actually lives there is legal, but if the landlord is not aware of and/or approves that arrangement, it could be a breach of the lease and/or fraud; if so, the landlord would be able to rescind or terminate the lease. The better course is to disclose the arrangment to the landlord up front and get his/her approval; in that instance, this is legal.

(Note: public housing is a different story; in that case, only the named tenant(s) may live there under the laws governing public housing.)


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