public records of coop purchase
January 16, 2010 8:20 AM   Subscribe

I'm buying a coop apt in NYC and I'd like to sublet my current rental apt. What is the likelihood of my current landlord (large corporation) finding about my purchase (at which point they will kick me out)?
posted by pmaxwell to Law & Government (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why would they kick you out before the end of your lease term?
posted by dfriedman at 8:22 AM on January 16, 2010

I had a large corporate landlord find out I'd sublet my apartment to my sister. They had the superintendent keeping them up to date on who was where. YMMV.
posted by keener_sounds at 8:25 AM on January 16, 2010

"Why would they kick you out before the end of your lease term?"
The rental apt would no longer be my "primary residence"
posted by pmaxwell at 8:46 AM on January 16, 2010

Your new purchase is a public record and so searchable. You might want to make this anon.
posted by fixedgear at 8:48 AM on January 16, 2010

If you have any kind of rental laws protecting you that have prevented them from raising the rent during your tenure there, but will allow them to raise the rent when they get a new tenant, then be especially careful -- they have a strong motive to be on the lookout for ways to getcha and raise the rent on the next guy.
posted by keener_sounds at 8:53 AM on January 16, 2010

I mean raise the rent more significantly than they might have been allowed to do during your time there.
posted by keener_sounds at 8:53 AM on January 16, 2010

Your question doesn't make sense.

(1) You currently are renting a place.

(2) You are buying another before the lease on your current place ends.

(3) You seem to think that your current landlord has an incentive to kick you out of the apartment because you're buying a place.

You need to give us more detail here.

Is the place you are currently renting a rent regulated or rent controlled apartment? Or is it market rate? If it is the latter the landlord is going to have no incentive to kick you out because rents have been declining on market rate apartments in NYC.
posted by dfriedman at 8:56 AM on January 16, 2010

Yeah, I'd do this all above board if I were you. Go to the landlord and explain the situation. They are required to allow reasonable subletting, as I recall from my one experience with this 5 or so years ago.

You must have a lawyer for the purchase, right? Ask her.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:56 AM on January 16, 2010

Hmmm, if there is a "primary residence" issue it sounds like maybe the rental is rent-stabilized? I am then wondering why you want to continue to rent and sublet. Continuing your lease and have a sublessor opens you to potential financial liability - probably not in any great big ways, but there could be a lot of pain in the butt and problems associated with it. Therefore, my suspicion/concern is that you intend to sublease the apartment for more than it's current rent. This might be attractive if, say, you had been in a rent-stabilized apartment for quite a few years, and your lease rent is under market, so you intend to charge market to a sublessor and make a tidy income stream.

I would warn you that IF this is your plan and IF the apartment is rent-stabilized (big assumptions, I know. Big ones, given you've indicated nothing on either point), then I would recommend against this plan, for two reasons:

-If your landlord finds out and terminates your lease, what happens to the sublease? It will be contingent on the overlease's terms but your sublessor might be pretty pissed off.

-IIRC, a sublessor who is charged more than the face amount of the overlease on a rent-stabilized apartment can sue the primary tenant (you) for the amount of the overage PLUS treble damages (and attorney fees). This is under RSC § 2525.6(e).

So, assuming my big assumptions are true, you are walking into a situation where you might piss off someone really bad who, if they sue you, might be able to charge you with three times the amount of any actual damages they suffer. Again, I realize I am making assumptions that might be completely off base, but knowing how much PITA subleasing is, if you have an out from the lease, I would take it. I can't think of any reason you would continue the lease other than you hope to make a profit. But of course I could be wrong.
posted by bunnycup at 9:02 AM on January 16, 2010

What does your current lease say about subletting?
posted by cestmoi15 at 9:02 AM on January 16, 2010

More deets: yes, my apt is rent stabilized. My objective is not so much an income stream, but to hold onto the apt until my child comes of age where I can put her on the lease (about 4 years or so). My lease gave me the option to sub lease for two years however, my lease expired Sept 09 and I am currently on a "month to month" and have not yet been offered a new lease due to the legal/financial turmoil of the complex owners (do not want to divulge owners name in this thread).
So, being that the coop purchase will be a public record and one would assume that the rental complex owners actively search those listings, it seems likely I'll be found out – EXCEPT that the complex owners have missed major mortgage payments, in court and will more than likely default on their loan. Its a mess. With so much going on, I'm hoping I can fly under the radar...
posted by pmaxwell at 9:42 AM on January 16, 2010

Seems like a lot of risk to pin a "hope" on, pmaxwell. Or maybe not. If the only thing you really risk is losing the apartment and you can afford to absorb the cost of a broken lease, it's all very New York.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:45 AM on January 16, 2010

Even if they don't find out about your purchase, you can only sublet with landlord's permission a rent stabilized apartment for 2 years before you must either give up the lease or return to residence there. As someone who was once evicted from what I discovered to be an illegal sublet in a rent stabilized apartment, they will find out, and you will lose the apartment.
posted by ch1x0r at 9:56 AM on January 16, 2010

Oh, I think I know where you are.

Whether you take this risk depends upon which is more important to you: passing the apartment to your kid, or taking advantage of the (relatively) low prices in the New York real estate market right now.

If it is very important to you to pass the apartment on to your child, I would stay in place for those four years (or until you get a lease again). If getting a low price on a co-op is the priority, go ahead and go that route, but know that it is very possible that you'll lose the rent-stabilized apartment.

I think this is one of those situations where you can't have your cake and eat it too.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:58 AM on January 16, 2010

Just a thought: are you married? If so, is the apartment in your name, your spouse's name, or both? did you sign the co-op agreement yet? My only thought is that possibly you could own the co-op in just one of your names (obviously make any provisions in some sort of post-nup agreement, so if you got divorced you'd be less likely to get screwed), and hold the lease (or month-to-month or whatev) in the other spouse's name. Best scenario would be something like: lease in husband's name, co-op in wife's (or vice-versa), so that cross-checking the records wouldn't automatically yield a result. You would have to consult w/ your attorney about the logistics of doing this (and there may be consequences for your financing arrangement), but something to think about.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:07 AM on January 16, 2010

The best that could happen is that you sublet without your landlords' knowledge, and they don't find out, then in four years' time you're able to transfer the tenancy to your then-adult child.

The worst is that they find out and terminate your lease, allowing them to rent at a market rate to someone else.

I would say it's worth taking the risk because if you're upfront with them you lose your rental place anyway.
posted by essexjan at 10:21 AM on January 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Generally, all terms for month to month are in the original lease agreement. It seems common that all restrictions are the same, except that instead of a charge for breaking a lease you need to give n days notice when you plan to vacate. (This would all be in your original lease, and if its not, i would be pretty surprised)

Have you considered subleasing for 2 years, moving back in, and then subleasing again? Of course this would depend on your lease terms, but could be completely kosher (though admittedly, not in the "spirit" of the law).
posted by shownomercy at 11:54 AM on January 16, 2010

If you are where I think you are, and your rent stabilized lease is at a rate substantially below the market rate, then the chances of being found out are high. Your landlord has a team of lawyers solely devoted to discovering tenants who are no longer living there as their primary residence and evicting them.
posted by boots at 1:08 PM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you are in a certain very large Manhattan complex that recently lost a big court case and has been much in the news, they are very likely to find out. They are notorious for aggressively seeking out potential non prime cases and suing tenants when there is only the merest whiff of impropriety. Being in bad financial straits might not make them less aggressive.
posted by Mavri at 3:11 PM on January 16, 2010

Except the owner is in loan default, so one assumes that "team" of lawyers is alternatively occupied or long ago laid off.


I lived in a building that was in receivership in manhattan once, had a major dispute with the court appointed management company.... I lived there rent fucking free for 4 years. Yes, you can slide under the radar if you are lucky. Owners in this sort of trouble have bigger fish to fry.

What size is your building? If it's a small building, or there is an onsite super - chances go way way down that you will get way with this.

If you try it, make sure your subletter NEVER gets mail delivered to your address. You make sure you still have ALL your mail go to your (former) address. Furthermore, you need to put in frequent appearances at your old apartment.


Good luck!

PS - what about subletting the condo and staying in your place for 2 more years, just until you can legally sublet it??
posted by jbenben at 3:20 PM on January 16, 2010

This is a pretty sneaky way around your situation, but it may be worth it. When you buy a co-op in NYC, the only form that will be of public record is what's called a UCC. If you were buying a house or a condo, your deed would be recorded, but since there is no deed with a co-op, all there is is a UCC. UCCs aren't contracts and there's no control over who files them for a particular purchase, or, really, if they ever get filed at all. If you wanted to be sneaky about it, you could go to any title company (memail me if you need a suggestion), file the UCCs yourself with a slight misspelling in your last name, to make them unfindable if your management company ever searched the public record (which, honestly, I really doubt they would do).
posted by amandarose at 10:23 PM on January 17, 2010

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