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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    New York City

    Default Sublease Who Allows Friends to Stay Over Unattended

    My question involves a roommate in the State of: New York

    summary: Our subleassing roommate allows people to stay in her room unattended.

    I live in with two other roommates, only me and another roommate is on the lease. We get along fine. After 2 years the non-leased roommate is going abroad for 3 months, intending to come back, she decides to sublease the room. That's fine. We all interview and approve a single person, Fran. The person pays for 3 months and the deposit upfront. I'd like to point out, that the sublease agreement was only signed by the non-leased roommate and Fran. The other roommate and I, who are on the lease did not sign anything.

    This person is never at home, but always traveling a week at a time, which is totally fine. One day, while away, the Fran emails us if a friend can stay over, while she's away. We respond "no". We hardly know the Fran, much less the friend. However, against our wishes, this friend stays over one night in our apt when she lets her in (but stays somewhere else that night). We're befuddled by Fran's blatant disregard for our wishes.

    Couple of weeks later, we come home to find another stranger in our apartment. She says Fran gave her the key, and she'll be staying for the week, while Fran is out of town.

    I email Fran and say this is unacceptable. We're not a hotel and you need to tell your friend to leave. The next day, the friend leaves. But she refuses to return the key, saying that Fran gave it to her, not me. She also says that the sublease doesn't forbid friends from staying over. I'm not sure why I'm arguing with her, but Fran doesn't reply by email.

    Is this true? If the sublease doesn't explicitly forbid friends from staying over and the giving key, that our hands are tied? Because we don't know just how many people have our key or if it's copied, can we change the lock at the expense of Fran's deposit after her sublease ends? We haven't bothered evicting Fran yet, but there are no plans to. If Fran decides to leave and break lease, do we need to give her the remainder of the rent that she prepaid?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Sublease Who Allows Friends to Stay Over Unattended

    Your roommate is allowed to have houseguests. If you wished to restrict her authority to have houseguests, the time to have done so would have been when you entered into your written rental agreement with her.

    If a tenant terminates a month-to-month tenancy, and rent has been paid past the end of the legal notice period, the overpaid rent is to be returned.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Sublease Who Allows Friends to Stay Over Unattended

    You do have an unusual situation. You have a sublease signed by a person who has no lease from which to sublease. That's not an enforceable lease. But, even though you aren't on the lease, you have been operating in accordance with it by accepting rent, giving Fran a key, etc. But, since you haven't signed the lease, you are not legally clearly bound by any inadvertant omissions in the wording (the lack of a clause that says that Fran can not make keys and hand them out to her friends). So, the legal situation is not clear, but in any roommate lease one roommate indiscriminately passing out keys to the apartment would at least be frowned upon in court.

    You have an unclear legal situation, but, in my opinion, a more important security and personal safety issue. You have no idea how many keys have been made or who has them. If personal items of yours turn up missing, you have no practical way of getting them back. An unplanned "guest" could be, or could be accompanied by someone who would do you bodily harm. In this situation, you have a right to protect yourself and your property.

    I would recommend (1) change the lock (2) pack Fran's things and let her know she can pick them up along with a check (3) the amount of the check should be prorated rent for the rest of the 3 months from the date you do this plus the deposit minus all legitimate deductions from the deposit minus the rekeying expense. Let Fran initiate legal action if she wants to; she's got a tough case to prove.

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