Can I sublease my NY apartment while I'm gone for 1-2 years?
January 14, 2014 1:07 PM Subscribe
Our apartment in New York is rent stabilized and we love the neighborhood it's in. I was very, very lucky to find this place back back when I was single. But in April we are moving to London temporarily (maybe for two years?) because of a job my wife has taken.
The dream scenario is that we could leave our furniture, find someone we trust to sublease to, and have the option to come back in two years. Or if things go terribly in London we could come back earlier. But there's a complicating factor and I don't even know if the rules would allow us to sublease for very long. Details below.
The building, a brownstone in Brooklyn, is in the process of being sold. Our current landlord is a nice guy and probably would be amenable to us finding a subtenant, but I know nothing about the potential new owners and I don't know what stage the sale is at. All I know is that I'm about to renew the lease and our current landlord wants to know if I'd like to re-up for either one or two years so he can tell the new owners. If the new owners want to convert the building to single family or want to go co-op we can deal with that. I'm ok with flying back to NY to move our furniture into storage at some future date if that becomes necessary because I know there are laws about how this process happens.
So the main question I have is regarding the rules about subleasing. I know you can sublease a rent-stabilized apartment only if you maintain it as your primary residence. How would this be defined? Can we be gone for a year or two and still call it our primary residence? Does it matter that we're leaving temporarily because of my wife's job and she's not on the lease? If the new owners take over before we've moved to London, could they just refuse to approve a subtenant since they know we're leaving soon?