This week, you'll find me on the New York Times website responding to a reader's question.
A woman asked about removing her former boyfriend's name from the lease to a stabilized apartment. My answer follows:
Removing an Ex-Boyfriend From a Lease
Q I live in a rent-stabilized apartment. The lease was signed by my former boyfriend and me. He moved out about a year ago, has not paid any rent since then, does not have any utility bills in his name, and no longer has any contact with me. Can I get his name taken off the lease?
A To remove the former boyfriend’s name from the lease, the tenant would have to get permission from both the boyfriend and the landlord.
“Whether a lease is regulated or free-market,” said Lucas A. Ferrara, a Manhattan real estate lawyer and adjunct professor at New York Law School, “the decision to remove a named tenant isn’t a one-sided process.”
“If all parties won’t agree to the modification,” he added, “then the situation can get quite sticky.” All named tenants in a regulated apartment may be found liable for unpaid rent and sued in the event of a lease breach, even when that default is caused by just one of them. “For that reason alone,” Mr. Ferrara said, “the landlord might be reluctant to remove the ex-boyfriend from the lease.”
In addition, he said, the rent laws restrict removing a regulated tenant’s name from a lease without a determination by a court or the state’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal.