Q&A: Are roommates in rentals illegal?

I received a letter, dated May 4, 2015, stating that I have an illegal tenant occupying my unit.  It stated that all unit owners must inform management about any tenants and provide proper paperwork, including names, phone numbers, and copy of executed lease, which I do not have. I am being assessed a monthly rental fee of $150.00, retroactive from February 2015, which will appear on my May monthly maintenance statement, and continue each month thereafter.

The condo unit upon which management is imposing a monthly rental fee was purchased in 1988, solely as an investment-owned rental property. The original loan application states "owner non-occupied."  

The offering plan, original governing documents, provided purchase of the condo unit without leasing/occupancy restrictions and did not impose a fee for non-residence owners. The condo unit was never intended to become an owner-occupied property. At no time was my unit owner-occupied. Up until the past few years, the condo unit was rented, sporadically, with an executed lease. After many years of tenants' destroying all the appliances, carpeting, floors, and even breaking the broiler, I had been forced to make costly repairs, replace appliances, more than once, and even renovate the kitchen and the bathrooms. There came a time when I could not find a tenant and/or was skeptical towards dealing with prospective tenants, due to my previous experiences. When my son and his friend decided to rent my unoccupied unit, I did not hesitate. Management was well-aware of this arrangement and never requested an executed lease. At no time did I ever have a present roommate or was able to secure another person, in the meantime, and both of them are there without an executed lease because of the tenable circumstances. In addition, the condo continues to be furnished with all of my son's original belongings.

Upon information and belief, condo units are deemed by law to be real property. Therefore, it is a "credible argument where a unit is defined as property that may be acquired, held, leased, mortgaged, and conveyed as any other real property, such as outright restriction on leasing is untenable." Furthermore, "an owner's expectation arguably would be dashed by an amended leasing restriction and/or imposing ongoing monthly fees." 

To conclude, in actuality, the condo unit in question was and always has been a non-owner rental property, despite the fact that my son, a non-owner has lived there and paid rent with his—interchangeable—roommates. Also, I have and continue to receive an insignificant amount of rental income, but I do not have to worry about my unit being trashed anymore. If I am forced to pay management $150.00 monthly rental fee, I will be at a deficit after paying my mortgage, maintenance, taxes and homeowners insurance. I, also, feel that this is a discriminatory act, and am at a loss, as to what additional services management provides non-occupied unit owners, for an additional monthly fee of $150.00, that are unavailable for owner-occupied units.


Related Articles

To Rent...Or Buy?

Low Rent-to-Price Ratio Makes NYC Less Attractive for Buyers

Roommates and Boarders in Co-ops

What Are Your Rights?

2019 NY Rent Law Impacts Condo & Co-op Sector

Subletters Take Note!

Q&A: Of Mice and Management

Q&A: Of Mice and Management

Q&A: Getting Hassled over Revising My Proprietary Lease

Q&A: Getting Hassled over Revising My Proprietary Lease

Updating Your Documents

Is it Time for a Facelift?



  • I purchase my condo unit in 2005 with amenities including 24 hour security, 2 pools ,parking lot and children playground. This summer, 2016, our board distroyed children playground and made their additional parking space for rent. Nobody from homeowners were not informed about that and when i asked about that i got answer that playground was in bad shape and cost board extra money for insurance and that kids can use any parks for playing.Is this action of board legal? Thank you