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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Q&A: Helping a Relative Rent an Apartment

Q A member of my family is trying to rent an apartment, but nobody will rent to him because of his low credit rating. Is it possible for me to sign the lease for him? He will live in the apartment and pay rent. I will not live with him, since I already have an apartment subsidized by the city.

A “The letter writer should not sign a lease for his family member’s apartment as it could cause a problem with his own subsidized unit,” said David A. Kaminsky, a Manhattan real estate lawyer. The lease terms of most subsidized apartments provide that the subsidized tenant not have any other apartment, he added, pointing out that even if the letter-writer does not actually live in the family member’s apartment, the second lease is probably written on the understanding that the signers of its lease will live there. If the city found out about that lease, it could seek to evict the writer from his subsidized apartment. Mr. Kaminsky noted that it may be possible for the writer to sign the lease only as a guarantor, thereby ensuring payment of the rent without exposing himself to an eviction. He would, however, be liable if his family member did not pay the rent.

Manhattan apartment building complex city view
Manhattan (Photo credit: griangrafanna)
Plans to Combine Condo Units

Q We recently bought the condominium unit next to us and eventually would like to combine the two units. What is the best way to do this?

A Arthur I. Weinstein, a Manhattan lawyer who is vice president of the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums, said that the condominium’s governing documents usually provide a procedure for lawfully combining adjacent units. The first step in the process is for the unit owner to obtain the consent of the condominium’s board of managers. Combining apartments also requires a permit from the New York City Buildings Department. Once the work is completed and complies with the building code, the department’s records will show the units as a single apartment. “The terms of the typical condominium mortgage require the consent of the holder of the mortgage to any change altering the legal status of the mortgaged property,” Mr. Weinstein said. “The lender’s consent usually includes a requirement that the ‘new’ collateral — the combined unit — be properly described in a new deed and have a new tax-lot designation.”

Co-op Tenant Receives a Maintenance Bill

Q I rent an unregulated apartment in a co-op building. Along with my rent bill, I received a $400 invoice for “building maintenance.” Although I haven’t had work done in my apartment, I believe this has something to do with the recent lobby upgrade. Am I required to pay that supplemental charge?

A “Shareholders of cooperative apartments are typically required to contribute to the building’s general upkeep, and must pay a proportionate share of operational costs, together with any special assessments, based on the number of shares allocated to each particular unit,” said Jonathan H. Newman, a Manhattan real estate lawyer. Although the unit’s owner is usually responsible for these charges, he said the lease may have shifted the responsibility to the tenant. “If the lease does not address the issue, there would be no legal obligation for the tenant to pay that invoice.”

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1 comment:

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