NYC rents are high, and one of the easiest ways of easing the cost is to find roommates. Did you know that there’s a law that specifies how many roommates you can have legally?
What is the “Roommate Law?"
This widely unknown section of the New York City Housing Maintenance Code outlines exactly how many people can live in apartments and one- and two-bedroom homes. It would be impossible to enforce this law by checking door-to-door, so this lease provision is frequently broken and is rarely considered unless there are several other complaints against you
What are the rules if there’s one tenant on the lease?
If it’s only your name on the lease, you’re permitted to share your apartment with your immediate family and/or unrelated people for economic or safety reasons, or for companionship.
So, if you share an apartment with a spouse or a friend and they have children, the children are also legally allowed to live in your home.
What are the roommate rules if there is more than one tenant on the lease?
Any lease signed by two or more people also permits the tenants’ immediate family, unrelated occupants, and the children of those occupants to live there.
However, the number of occupants in an apartment must not exceed the number of tenants on the lease. So, if two people sign a lease, a maximum of four people can live there.
Does the size of the property matter?
Yes, it does. Every person in a property must have a livable area of no less than 80 square feet. The livable area includes the kitchen but doesn’t take into account bathrooms, halls, foyers, or storage spaces.
For every two occupants, one child under four is also legally allowed to live there.
What should I disclose to my landlord?
If new people move into your home, you must tell your landlord within 30 days of the move-in date. Your landlord is legally allowed to ask the name and relationship of the new occupant, and the ages of any minors.