Will the Housing Court recognize polyamorous relationships when making decisions about who can succeed to (inherit) a Rent Stabilized apartment?

In Episode 8 we discuss whether the NYC Housing Court will recognize polyamorous relationships when making decisions about who can succeed to (inherit) a Rent Stabilized apartment.

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Here is a link to today’s case.

In Episode 6 we also explored succession as a topic.

Ask us your questions at [email protected].

Check out the Tenant Learning Platform, offering awesome resources to NYC tenants, so they can learn about the laws affecting their apartments. We have booklets, video lessons, blog posts, podcasts, TikToks, and more. We also create custom resources for organizations who want their groups to be able to crack the code when it comes to their NYC housing.

How do I succeed to (inherit) a Rent Stabilized apartment?

In Episode 6 we discuss how to succeed to (inherit) a Rent Stabilized apartment. We also talk about what happens if you family member is unwilling to testify on your behalf in court.

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There is a DHCR form that the tenant can fill out, that helps establish that you are a potential successor. Notice To Owner Of Family Members Residing With The Named Tenant In The Apartment Who May Be Entitled To Succession Rights/Protection From Eviction (DHCR Form RA- 23.5).

We have a booklet available on the Tenant Learning Platform called “How Protect Your Rent Stabilized Apartment From a Nonprimary Residence Claim”. It is not exactly on the succession topic, but its close, and the booklet lists all the ways you can prove that a tenant or occupant is a primary resident of a Rent Stabilized apartment.

Ask us your questions at [email protected].

Is there no chance that I am Rent Stabilized if my lease says in big letters across the top that I am not Rent Stabilized? And the difference between Rent Control and Rent Stabilization.

In Episode 5 we discuss the difference between Rent Control and Rent Stabilization and whether a landlord and tenant can contract in or out of rent regulation, as we look at a new appellate case that everyone is talking about. Is this case really a game changer? We also answer the question – “Is there no chance that I am Rent Stabilized if my lease says in big letters across the top that I am not Rent Stabilized?”

Listen on Apple, Spotify, or Google.

Link to today’s case.

I am a subtenant, I think the tenant I am renting from is Rent Stabilized and overcharging me. What do I do? Can I collect my overcharge award directly from the landlord?

In Episode 4 we discuss what happens when a Rent Stabilized tenant sublets her apartment to a subtenant and overcharges the subtenant more than the legally regulated rent. The tenant could owe the subtenant the overcharge amount back, plus triple damages. Today’s case is interesting because the DHCR held that the landlord, as well as the tenant, was responsible to the subtenant for the overcharge, even when the landlord did not collect more than the legal rent, based upon the concept of illusory tenancy.

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Subtenants can obtain a printout of their apartment’s rent registration from DHCR by submitting proof of their identity and occupancy of the apartment ⁠at this link⁠.

Ask us your questions at [email protected].

Can I gain leverage in Housing Court if my landlord makes a procedural mistake?

In Episode 3 we discuss a Housing Court case that was dismissed because, although the apartment was located on the second floor of a building, the landlord described the apartment as being on the first floor. This leads us to an interesting Tenant Takeaway about how to turn winning a battle into maybe doing better in the overall war!

Listen on Apple, Spotify, or Google.

Ask us your questions at [email protected].

Was my rent break for my Rent Stabilized apartment a one-time rent concession or a permanent “Preferential Rent”? And should I join a class action against my landlord?

In Episode 2 we discuss the difference between a permanent “Preferential Rent” and a one-time “rent concession” for Rent Stabilized apartments. We also discuss the pros and cons of tenants joining a class action with other tenants against the landlord.

Listen on Apple, Spotify, or Google.

Ask us your questions at [email protected].

Where do I bring a harassment case against my landlord? An Episode of the Tenant Law Podcast

Welcome to the Tenant Law Podcast, where we talk about new, interesting, and/or important legal cases affecting New York City tenants. This weekly pod will be about 10 minutes long. First, we give you some background, so you have the context to understand the case we are discussing. Then we talk about the case itself. And finally, we explain why the case is important, and give you our Tenant Takeaway!

Listen on Apple, Spotify, or Google.

Episode 1 examines a recent New York City Civil Court case where a landlord attempted to have tenant’s harassment case dismissed because tenant previously brought a case for harassment against landlord in DHCR and lost. We discuss when a court will dismiss a case because it is too much like an earlier case between the parties. We also discuss what factors go in to a Rent Stabilized tenant’s decision about where to bring a harassment case against landlord, at DHCR or in Housing Court.

Ask us your questions at [email protected].

Free Class: “How to Get Repairs and Paint Jobs in Your New York City Apartment” https://tenantlearningplatform.com/courses/the-laws-about-getting-paint-jobs-and-repairs-in-your-nyc-apartment/

Tenant Law Podcast is a free production of Tenant Learning Platform.

I had to vacate my apartment early, can the landlord sue me for the last six months of rent?

Ira from Astoria asks:

I was a tenant in an affordable housing unit, but I had to move out after six months because there were some type of fumes in the apartment that gave me terrible headaches. My former landlord says I am responsible for the last six months of rent.

What can I do?


Instructor Michelle Answers:

Pursuant to the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, the duty for a landlord to mitigate damages applies to all residential leases. Real Property Law § 227-e; 14 East 4th Street Unit 509 LLC v. Toporek, 203 AD3d 17 [1st Dept 2022]. That means that your landlord cannot simply sit on her hands for six months and charge you for the rent. The landlord must actively search for a new tenant. In this housing climate, it is not difficult for a landlord to fill an apartment. This offers you some protection. If the landlord does sufficiently attempt to mitigate and the apartment remains vacant for six months, here are some other thoughts.

Were there HPD violations? Did you send a letter to the landlord, explaining why you left? If you documented this fumes condition, then many landlords would be less likely to go after you.

Did the landlord keep your security? If so, we are now only talking about five months of rent, not six. It often costs a landlord more to successfully prosecute such a lawsuit (for a mere five months’ rent for an affordable unit from a tenant who is gone) than the landlord is likely to recover.

Using this leverage, you could try offering one or two months rent in exchange for a general release. You should not sign anything, however, without talking to your lawyer.

Respectfully submitted,

Instructor Michelle Itkowitz

Can I inherit my father’s Rent Stabilized apartment?

Scout from Lincoln Square asks:

My father just passed away and my siblings and I are in the middle of cleaning out his Rent Stabilized (or maybe Rent Controlled?) apartment. I do not have a copy of my father’s lease.

Can I move into my father’s apartment and become the Rent Stabilized tenant? Can I somehow get a settlement from the landlord for releasing custody of the apartment? I know someone who did that with her parents’ apartment.

Any advice would be appreciated,


Instructor Michelle Answers:

If: (1) the apartment was your father’s primary residence before he died (i.e., you had not moved him out permanently to a nursing home); (2) you are the child; (3) you lived with your father in the apartment as your primary residence (which you need to prove with paperwork and sworn testimony under penalty of perjury); (4) for two full years directly before your father died (or one year if some other circumstances apply); then you are entitled to succeed to (inherit) the apartment. All those things need to be true. From your question, I cannot even tell if you live in the apartment, it does not sound like you do.

The story you heard about the kid who got a settlement, that was likely because the kid could check those four boxes above and the landlord was scared the kid might secede to a very low-rent Rent Controlled tenancy. Apartment situations are like snowflakes, no two are ever exactly alike. So, it is not wise to rely upon other people’s apartment stories.

Respectfully submitted,

Instructor Michelle Itkowitz