The Nest

NestApple's Real Estate Blog

Featuring real estate articles and information to help real estate buyers and sellers. The Nest features writings from Georges Benoliel and other real estate professionals. Georges is the Co-Founder of NestApple and has been working as an active real estate investor for over a decade.

Co-op Sublet NYC Policies, Rules, And Fees

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Co-op Sublet policies & rules are tricky. New York City is a place where rentals always seem to pop up. If you’ve ever rented a sublet, you already know this is a hot move for people whorental agreement Rules, And Fees want to maximize their income. This is especially true if you are part of a co-op community. Once you’ve bought a co-op, it’s yours. However, the board still has a lot of say on what it can do. Did you ever wonder if you’re allowed to sublet (or Airbnb) your place? Can the co-op evict a sublet tenant in the case of an illegal co-op sublet? It’s not as simple as you think.

Before We Begin: A Little Disclaimer

It’s important to remember that every single co-op has different rules, bylaws, and fees. We’re generalizing when discussing the typical experience of co-op owners who want to sublet in NYC. If you own a co-op, the content in our article may or may not represent what you deal with. The best thing you can do for yourself is to read your co-op’s rulebook or ask board members about their policies.

When working with real estate, details are always a must. Otherwise, you might wage a legal battle during the co-op’s board meetings.

Where Can You Find Out Your Co-Op’s Subletting Policies?

Owners can find subletting policies in the rulebook of co-ops, which means you can check your copy or ask the co-op board. If you are working with a broker, you might ask them. Many brokers and real estate agents are aware of more prominent co-ops’ policies on subletting.

Can You Sublet Your Co-op?

In most cases, you can’, but it’s hard to tell. Co-ops have a wide variety of policies, and most NYC co-ops are owner-occupied.

co-op in nyc

A row of primarily old and new residential buildings and skyscrapers in Chelsea of New York City

rather than rented out. As a result, a decent percentage of co-ops won’t allow you to sublet it at all. In some cases, they will allow you to sublet it for a maximum of two to four weeks at a time. In other cases, still, they will let you do whatever you want with it as long as they get a cut.

Wondering what the most likely scenario is? The most common co-op sublet policy among New York City co-ops is that they will allow you to do it for up to two years, provided that you’ve lived in the apartment for one to three years at a minimum.

This is where asking the co-op board directly (or reading the rulebook) remains the most brilliant move. You’ll find out what you can and cannot do with your potential co-op sublet.

How Long Are You Allowed To Let Your Renter Live In Your Co-op?

Generally speaking, co-op owners who are allowed to sublet are discouraged from renting their co-ops for short-term stays. This means Airbnb probably isn’t going to work out. Typically, you must have a long-term lease with your subletter. So, expect to have lease terms of six months to a year.

Co-ops can have both minimum and maximum lease lengths. Oddly enough, both minimum and maximum terms tend to be a year long. So, try to plan for a single-year lease.

How Long Are You Allowed To Let Sublet Your Co-op?

Things get a little dicey regarding how long you’re allowed to turn your co-op into a sublet. Co-ops that enable you to sublet their units will often letNYC upper east side you do it for 1 to 3 years at a time. Some co-ops allow owners to sublet it for a maximum of five years for the duration of ownership.

If it sounds draconian.

If the co-op does not implement these policies, co-ops quickly attract “vulture investors” who do nothing but snap up units to rent them out at a higher price. These rules ensure that the community stays among New Yorkers who want to live and work there.

How Subletting Works With Most Co-Op Communities

Are you ready to sublet your co-op properly? If so, you will have to go through your co-op board’s process for subletting if it’s allowed. Here’s what you should prepare to do:

  1. You will need to alert the board to your intent to sublet at least a month before you do it. You will usually need to do it in writing, as a phone call might not suffice for records.
  2. Give the board information about the tenant. Most boards will want the tenants’ contact information and ID, and they will also want information about the terms and the rent price. Therefore, the co-op might have the right to approve or reject the subletter at this point. Each building determines a specific Coop’s pet policy.
  3. Increase your homeowner’s insurance or co-op insuranceYou will want to do this just in case the renter wrecks something.
  4. Pay the NYC rental fees to the board as your tenant moves in and lives there. We’ll get into this later.
  5. Alert the tenant to the policies involving your co-op. Every tenant needs to know the basics, such as trash removal, call when stuff breaks, and quiet hours.

How Do Co-Op Subletting Fees Work?

When you’re subletting a co-op unit, you’re doing two things that aren’t cool with the co-op. First, you’re bringing in people who weren’t approved by the board and posed a risk to the co-op. Second, you’re renting out your property which means you’re making money off a property YOU are supposed to live in. That’s a lot for a co-op to deal with, so they will want a cut.

Why Do Co-Ops Charge Subletting Fees?

Co-ops charge subletting fees because it’s a significant risk for them to take. Those fees help cover anything the subletter breaks and any trouble the co-op could cause. It can also be a way for the co-op to get more money toward new amenities.

How Do Co-Ops determine Subletting Fees?

These fees vary significantly from community to community. There are several different ways that co-ops can calculate their fees.

The most common include:

  • Maintenance Increases. Some do it by taking an additional 25 to 30 percent to your monthly maintenance fee for the duration of the sublet.
  • Upfront Size-Base Fee. Other co-ops may ask for money upfront. This usually is a set fee per square foot of your co-op, and it’s billed annually for as long as the subletting goes on. Some also have a scale depending on the number of bedrooms.
  • Increasing Fee. This upfront fee increases with you sublet the co-op every year and usually goes from 10 to 15 percent to 20 or 25 percent. For example, it could represent $1000 year one, then the next year it’ll be $1500.
  • Fixed Annual Fee. Some co-ops choose to do a flat fee every year that the co-op is sublet, which means studios, one-bedrooms, two, and three bedrooms will all have the same fee.

What Happens If You Sublet Your Co-Op Illegally?

It’s true. Illegal co-op sublets are on the rise and happen quite often. If someone accidentally rents from an illegal subletter, they’re usually asked

illegal co op sublet

to leave. Or, they leave of their own accord because they don’t want to have an eviction on their record and choose to sue the subletter. However, a lawsuit from an angry ex-tenant is the least of your concerns.

If you sublet when you’re not supposed to, the following can all occur depending on what your co-op board’s rules are:

  • You can get a hefty fine. For instance, co-ops will charge double the monthly maintenance fee for every month you’ve sublet illegally. Therefore, that can add up to tens of thousands of dollars.
  • The co-op may have the right to sue you. In some cases, you might also get a lawsuit for any damage done to the building by the tenant. This can include fines from noise complaints, damage from a fire in the lobby, or whatever other chaos they caused.
  • In extreme cases, it can even lead to eviction. You might own your unit, but you can still get kicked out if you refuse to abide by the bylaws. Co-op foreclosures remain awful on your record, so this is usually only left for repeat offenders.

Conclusion

If you are looking to sublet policy to a co-op, think long and hard before you do it. It’s not always a good move. However, if you have the board’s blessing and can afford the fees, it is a great way to make money and improve your apartment’s return. Talking to a good broker can help you navigate it, so give NestApple a call today.



Written By: Ossiana Tepfenhart

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