Alleged Subtenant Is Roommate
LVT Number: 12784
Facts: Landlord sued to evict loft tenant for illegal subletting and rent overcharge. Tenant claimed that he shared the loft with a roommate, that the loft had a single entrance, kitchen, bathtub, and household appliances that they shared. Landlord claimed that tenant had divided the 2,300 square foot loft into two separate living units with two kitchens and bathrooms, and that tenant charged subtenant $1,700 per month while the legal monthly rent for the unit was $550. Courts: Landlord loses. Since they lived in the loft together, tenant and subtenant were actually roommates. It doesn't mater how the space was occupied or subdivided and loft tenant isn't barred from installing fixtures or dividing living space into two self-contained units. And even if this were a sublet, tenant was entitled to do so under his lease. Also, although loft board regulations bar rent overcharge of subtenants, the regulations don't give landlord a reason for eviction on that basis. Only the subtenant can make a claim against tenant for a rent overcharge.
BLF Realty Holding Corp. v. Kasher: NYLJ, p. 29, col. 1 (10/21/98) (Civ. Ct. NY; Hoffman, J)