What would be the best way to resolve this lease renewal issue?
February 16, 2015 5:43 AM   Subscribe

A few days ago I received a notice from my landlord, addressed to a former co-tenant who should no longer be on the lease, requesting his signature for a late lease renewal form. What's the best and/or most expedient way to resolve this issue?

This might require a bit of explanation:

When my lease (New York City) was up for renewal last September, one of my co-tenants, Z, wished to move out and have his share of the lease be taken over by someone else. I got signed documents from all the leasing parties involved saying that they were aware of and approved of this change, and went to the landlord's office to get the names on the lease changed. When I got there, they told me that all documents needed to be notarized, which I had some difficulty arranging because Z had moved far away and had a complicated schedule.

After my lease was technically over but before I could get notarized documents from everyone, I received the rent bill for October with the original tenants' names on it and for the original lease's rent. I paid it, and I've been paying every month's rent since then, figuring that if they have no problem sending me a rent bill and depositing my checks every month that everything was fine.

A few days ago I received a scarily-worded legal notice, addressed to Z and only Z, saying that I needed to complete the attached lease renewal form and return it within 10 days or face legal action from my landlord. The lease renewal form they sent was a bit odd; one, it was for for my lease that expired last year, and two, the address for the apartment had been typed in incorrectly and had been corrected in pen.

YANML, but could I simply cross out Z's name on the lease renewal form they sent and write in my own? Or am I legally obligated to get everyone's notarized documents affirming their knowledge of and consent to the change of names on the lease before I can send anything back?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (2 answers total)
Don't worry about the scary wording. New York City is a famously tenant friendly place. They can NOT just kick you out in the middle of the night, no matter what the circumstances are.

I say that you correct the lease with pen. Include a letter explaining the correction, and include copies of whatever documents you have so far. State in your letter that you told them this in previously, and when they deposited your rent check you took that as evidence of their agreement with the new arrangement.
posted by Flood at 6:01 AM on February 16, 2015 [5 favorites]

Is the apartment rent stabilized? It sounds like it, but it will affect the answer.

First off, I don't know why they told you that anything at all needed to be notarized. They might like it for whatever reason, but it doesn't have to be.

Secondly, if the lease was up in September AND your old roommate wanted out at that time, a renewal lease should have been offered with your name and the new roommate's name (if you wanted that person on the lease.) NYC law doesn't require signatures to get off a lease, and I've never heard of such a thing.

What I'm confused about is if you ever actually got a renewal lease. If you didn't, then you just need to get one from them. I'd get on the phone with them, it seems like they might not fully understand the situation.

If this is a market rate apartment then you have no right to a renewal lease and the landlord can set forth more stipulations regarding a renewal lease.
posted by Automocar at 1:36 PM on February 17, 2015

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