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.

NYC Co-op Sublet Policies, Rules, And Fees

Go Back To Previous Page

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 that 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 can and cannot be done. 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. When we’re discussing the typical experience of co-op owners who want to sublet, we’re generalizing. If you own a co-op, the content in our article may or may not be like what you deal with. The best thing you can do for yourself is to read your co-op’s rulebook or ask the board about their policies.

When working with real estate, details are always a must. So, don’t assume things are okay. Otherwise, you might end up in a legal battle with your co-op’s board or worse.

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 out your copy or ask the co-op board. If you are working with a broker, you might be able to 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 might not be able to, but it’s hard to tell. Co-ops have a wide variety of different policies. 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 co-ops in New York City 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) tends to be 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 out 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 towards being a year long. So, try to plan for a single-year lease.

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

In terms of how long you’re allowed to turn your co-op into a sublet, things get a little dicey. 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, it is because it has to be. If these kinds of policies don’t get put into place, 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 the process that your co-op board has 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 be enough for records.
  2. Give the board information about the tenant. Most boards will want the tenants’ contact information and ID. They also will want to get information about the terms as well as the rent price. The co-op might have the right to approve or reject the subletter at this point.
  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 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’re going to 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 that the subletter breaks and any trouble itcan a co op board evict a sublet tenant could cause the co-op. It can also be a way for the co-op to get more money to go toward new amenities.

How Do Co-Op Subletting Fees Get Determined?

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 tacking 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 will be 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 annual upfront fee increases with every year you sublet the co-op. It usually goes from 10 percent to 15 percent, to 20 or 25 percent. For example, it could be $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. This means that studios, one-bedrooms, two bedrooms, 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 they happen quite a lot. 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 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, any 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 they got 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 can be pretty awful on your record, which is why this is usually only left for repeat offenders.

Conclusion

If you are looking to sublet policy 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 can be a great way to make money and improve your apartment’s return. Talking to a good broker can help you navigate it all, so give NestApple a call today.



Georges Benoliel Founder of NestApple - NestApple NYC cashback rebate

Ossiana Tepfenhart