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Another New York apartment question
February 16, 2010 3:27 PM   Subscribe

This question may be a no-brainer but if two people will be renting an apartment in New York City proper, will landlords always require both residents to be listed on the lease? This pertains to a couple and not to a platonic roommate situation. Thanks in advance.

Reason being, one party has questionable credit and doesn't want to have it interfere with the renting of said apartment.
posted by sarelicar to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
 
Every landlord in the city might not, but yes, just about all of them will.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:29 PM on February 16, 2010


I know in Philadelphia I've been in a situation similar to that (not for credit reasons, for noncommittal reasons), and I provided proof of income (a paycheck) and it was fine. It helps if the person on the lease has the means to pay rent without your income.

Good luck!
posted by Lizsterr at 3:37 PM on February 16, 2010


In my apartment complex (in SC and not NYC) they want everyone. Which included the guy we knew was moving out before us and the friend who is leaving in May (still before us) we had move in when he moved out sooner than we originally thought.
posted by theichibun at 3:40 PM on February 16, 2010


The vast majority of landlords will, and rightly so. If two people live in an apartment, the landlord would like to have for him, her or itself the legal right to sue either or both of those people for unpaid rent (thus at least hypothetically increasing the likelihood of receiving payment). Furthermore, in some NYC apartments, it is sometimes said that those who live in an apartment without being on the lease can obtain "squatters rights" and be very difficult to evict. While that may be apocryphal, I've certainly heard from landlords that it motivates them to be sure they have a contract with all known occupants.
posted by bunnycup at 3:42 PM on February 16, 2010


I lived in a situation (in NYC) where a landlord did not require all the tenants on the lease, though it was a roommate situation. The reason they allowed us to do this (we were told) was that the two roommates on the lease satisfied the 40x rent income requirement, so the 3rd roommate did not need to be listed. The agent renting us the apartment did emphasize however (rightly), that that meant the two of us who signed would be on the hook for the rent, regardless of whether the third roommate paid/lived there.

I can't speak to whether this was the norm, but in that situation, the deciding factor was definitely that the two of us were able to more than meet the 40x rent income requirement.
posted by Caz721 at 3:44 PM on February 16, 2010


(By the way, I experienced this when a landlord would not rent an apartment to my now-spouse, then-fiance and I without both being on the lease. His credit was rotten, but mine was sufficient, so she gave us the apartment. The party with insufficient credit should expect to be required to be on the lease, and prepare by having a guarantor, such as a parent or employer, lined up. A guarantor will usually cure most poor credit scenarios.)
posted by bunnycup at 3:46 PM on February 16, 2010


There are so, so, so, many different landlords in NYC that it shouldn't be a herculean task to find a landlord that will rent to you without requiring it.
posted by josher71 at 4:17 PM on February 16, 2010


Furthermore, in some NYC apartments, it is sometimes said that those who live in an apartment without being on the lease can obtain "squatters rights" and be very difficult to evict. While that may be apocryphal, I've certainly heard from landlords that it motivates them to be sure they have a contract with all known occupants.

This isn't apocryphal, but it's inaccurate.

People who are on a lease are not squatters and have no rights as such. They may have other rights as tenants, however.

Please don't opine on NYC real estate law unless you are familiar with it. It is exceedingly complex. Your best bet would be to call 311 and inquire about tenants' rights in New York City.

One question that will be pertinent to your question is whether the two of you are married. If you're not married the landlord may want both names on the lease. You should speak with a tenant lawyer for definite answers.
posted by dfriedman at 4:18 PM on February 16, 2010


I've never heard of a landlord in NYC requiring everyone to be on the lease. If you're married, yeah, probably, but other than that, no way.

There may be salary requirements for the one lease signer, though.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:27 PM on February 16, 2010


Would you want to live in a building where the landlord doesn't conduct a criminal background check on each and every resident of legal age?
posted by halogen at 4:38 PM on February 16, 2010


People who are on a lease are not squatters and have no rights as such. They may have other rights as tenants, however.

Please don't opine on NYC real estate law unless you are familiar with it. It is exceedingly complex

Funny you say both of those things, since I am a NY licensed lawyer and NY rental tenant of 10 years experience. Secondly, I am aware that squatters rights (if they would accrue at all) would not accrue to someone on a lease. That is precisely why I said "it is sometimes said that those who live in an apartment without being on the lease can obtain "squatters rights." Also, as a legal professional, I carefully crafted my answer to contain no opinion on any area of law.

For OP and dfriedman's further understanding, I don't know and have expressed no opinion whether it is possible that your potential roommate in this potential living arrangement could accrue "squatters rights" through any means. What I do know, and have experienced, is that landlords have told me they want all tenants on leases to prevent so-called squatters rights accruing to the non-contracted tenant. Dfriedman, you might not like that opinion by the landlords, but there it is, it's what two of mine thought.
posted by bunnycup at 4:46 PM on February 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have rented 4 places in NYC in the past 5 years, and none of them have required both mine and my husband's names. Just another data point.
posted by gaspode at 4:58 PM on February 16, 2010


As long as one person makes enough to qualify, both people don't need to be on the lease. I lived with my (now) ex at two places in Brooklyn and was on neither lease.
posted by youcancallmeal at 6:52 PM on February 16, 2010


This confused me:

in response to this:
Furthermore, in some NYC apartments, it is sometimes said that those who live in an apartment without being on the lease can obtain "squatters rights" and be very difficult to evict. While that may be apocryphal, I've certainly heard from landlords that it motivates them to be sure they have a contract with all known occupants.

dfriedman's response was:

"This isn't apocryphal, but it's inaccurate.

"People who are on a lease are not squatters and have no rights as such. They may have other rights as tenants, however."


dfriedman, could you have meant "People who are NOT on a lease...etc."?

I and my husband are (very small-scale) landlords in NYC and we do require all of the roommates in one of our two apts. (where there's a roommate situation) to be on the lease, so that they are legally living there and if something goes wrong (not paying rent, break things, whatever) we have legal recourse. The reason we do this is because our lawyer told us to. The other interesting thing she told us is that everyone on the lease is responsible for ALL of the rent. There are four tenants in that apartment. In other words, if three of them blow town without paying rent at some point, the fourth remaining person is responsible for ALL of the rent.

According to our lawyer. As far as me --- I am not a lawyer. I am not giving a legal opinion. Or a medical opinion. Or a psychological opinion. And have no official expertise in anything in the entire world. And am little more than an idiot, really. So I take absolutely no responsibility for anything I say, ever.
posted by DMelanogaster at 6:52 PM on February 16, 2010


I am a landlord, though not in NYC. The situation you are in is common, and the common solution is for the person with good credit to rent the apartment, and then for the person with bad credit to move in "later". Landlords who have someone on the hook for the place are rarely going to evict just because a boyfriend shows up. As a landlord, I don't like this when it happens, but it happens.

I do not warranty the applicability of this strategy to your particular landlord.
posted by dhartung at 7:33 PM on February 16, 2010


I'm in the opposite situation. My partner and I live together, but she is the only one on the lease; I am not on the lease and am therefore not a tenant, merely an "occupant." This means she's technically on the hook for all of the rent, and is the only person who really has any rights as a tenant.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:57 AM on February 17, 2010


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