In Condor Funding, LLC v Miles , Condor alleged that Ginger Miles had illegally sublet her rent-stabilized apartment in order to pursue a teaching assignment in the Lone Star State.
Although the tenant had formally requested the landlord's written approval of the arrangement by complying with the requirements of New York's "sublet law,"* Condor refused to consent to the transfer, citing a suspicion that the tenant was permanently relocating to Texas.
In an interesting twist, both the New York County Civil Court and the Appellate Term, First Department, slammed Condor for unreasonably withholding consent to the proposed transaction. Here's what the AT1 concluded:
Landlord arbitrarily and improperly refused to consent to the sublease since it raised no objection to the proposed subtenant and its stated skepticism that tenant might be primarily residing in Texas was purely speculative. Tenant satisfactorily explained her intent to temporarily relocate to gain university teaching experience to augment her income. At the time of her sublease request, tenant had resided in the former loft premises for 25 years and had regularly filed New York State income tax returns listing the premises as her address. Under such circumstances, landlord unreasonably withheld consent in derogation of the remedial purpose of the statute to permit sublets of unused apartments during a time of housing shortage ....
Looks like the tenant won this one by miles.
For a copy of the Appellate Term's decision, please use this link: Condor Funding, LLC v Miles
*Real Property Law section 226-b provides that a tenant (in a building with four or more residential units) may seek a landlord's permission to sublease an apartment (notwithstanding any prohibition or restriction that may appear in the parties' lease agreement). This request must be in written form and include such information as:
- the duration of the proposed sublease;
- the name(s), home and business addresses of the proposed subtenant(s);
- the tenant's address during the sublease;
- the written consent of any co-tenant or guarantor of the lease; and
- a copy of the tenant's lease together with the proposed sublease, acknowledged by the tenant and proposed subtenant(s) as being a true copy of the sublease.
A landlord has ten days from the receipt of this written request to ask for additional information regarding the transaction and has 30 days to accept or reject the proposal. Should an owner fail to adhere to these time parameters or "unreasonably" withholds consent, the law permits the tenant to proceed with the sublease.
Take note: This law does NOT apply to all residential units. By way of example, "public housing" and cooperative apartments are excluded from its ambit.