Subletting has become a widely chosen path for renters that want a little more flexibility in their tenancy. What does subletting mean though? Isn’t it the same as renting? What happens to your security deposit you have damages when you sublet? What are the subletting laws in New York like?

To put it simply, when you are subletting a room from the leaseholder, you won’t sign on the lease. But you will live on the property. So, how does this work, really?

Basically, instead of signing an agreement with the owner or property manager, you’ll make your own agreement with the leaseholder. The terms of the lease should ideally suit you both — such as the cost and the length of stay. 

Subletting may be a good option for unemployed people that want to find an apartment. There are fewer forms to fill and the whole thing feels a lot less permanent.

However, with that flexibility comes a few grey areas. If you’re not tied to a lease and something goes wrong – such as damages – who’s responsible?

Is it legal to sublet in NYC?

Sublets and short-term rentals are increasingly common in higher-end property markets. Especially where people can’t afford to take on entire homes or apartments due to the price. Instead, they use apps like Roomi to find roommates to join them on a short-term non-fixed basis. This comes in handy if you’re thinking of splitting the rent and take off a little strain.

New York State Law allows most tenants to legally sublet their room or apartment. They do, however, have to get written permission from their landlord in order to do so.

And rightly so, there are certain rules around this. For instance, you can’t sublet if you’re living in a rent-controlled apartment. So it’s best to do your research before you advertise a spot.

Do I need to pay a security deposit to sublet?

Before moving in, most leaseholders will require you to pay a security deposit. This could also potentially include a month or two of rent. This ensures accountability and that you don’t move out with zero notice or ruin anything in the apartment.

You’ll probably need to sign a sublease agreement that will be shared between you, the head leaseholder and the landlord. This includes your names, proposed length of sublease, rent, security deposit and maybe your reason for subletting. The length of a sublease must be more than 30 days and less than two years within a four-year period.

Who is liable for damages when you sublet?

Technically, the people or persons on the main lease are liable for any damages made to the property and are financially responsible for making sure the rent is paid on time every month. That’s why renters want to be sure they’re taking on a sub-letter they can trust. (That, and wanting someone they get along with.)

If you’re a sub-letter and you accidentally damage something (these things happen), you may lose some of your security deposit. Usually, the terms and conditions around this will be outlined in your sublease agreement. The best advice here is to respect the home you’re living in and the contents within it, or you could see your sublease being cut short and things can get awkward if you refuse to pay.

In short – the original tenant is responsible for damages. However, many sub-letters offer to cover the cost of the damage they caused, and some subleases may contain information regarding this. 

Can I automatically take over the lease?

If everything is going smoothly with your new apartment and don’t have any damages from when you sublet (kudos!), you may want to take over the lease when the current tenant is ready to leave.

In New York, however, there’s no provision that allows you to do this automatically. The landlord has to approve any transfers or new leases, so you may have to provide extra supporting documents such as references and work history in order to take over the lease.

D’you know what else Roomi does outside of helping its readers find their way around damages when they sublet in New York City? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we help you find your perfect match! Download the app here and hop on the easiest ride home, ever!

Here are some other posts that may interest you if you’re looking to Sublet in New York!