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Can I inherit my father’s Rent Stabilized apartment?

Jun 26, 2022

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