Sharing apartments in New York: tenants, co-tenants and roommates
Roommate agreements are always advisable
What is the difference between co-tenants and roommates? Of course, if you live in New York and share an apartment with another person it is advisable that you are fully aware of your rights and responsibilities in both cases.
Real estate properties for rent in New York are short in supply and very expensive, that is the reason why many people – including professionals – prefer to share their home with another person.
The person that signs the lease is the primary tenant. The person who lives in the same house of the primary tenant and is included in the lease is a co-tenant. If that person is not included in the lease becomes a roommate.
Anyway, whether the fellow tenant is included in the contract or not, it is advisable to draw up an agreement outlining the terms of the arrangement between the tenant and the roommate. The agreement should ensure the roommate the possibility to stay in the apartment even when the primary tenant goes away. It should also contain rules regarding things like painting and pets and the rent each person should pay. The person responsible for the contact with the landlord should be defined. The agreement should also include topics such as the way utilities will be handled, the duration of the agreement itself and how much notice should be given before moving out.
In New York, the tenant can have a roommate without the landlord’s permission, but it is compulsory to notify the landlord within 30 days of the roommate’s arrival.
The rent tenants and roommates will pay is often dictated by the market, but in New York numerous apartments are rent-regulated, which means that the law guarantees that the rent can increase by only a small percentage per year. In a rent-controlled apartment, roommates are charged only a proportionate share of the total rent.
The landlord can ask the primary tenant to cover the payment of the entire rent, regardless of the agreement the tenant has made with the roommate or the co-tenant.