How to handle illegal subletting

In the age of online rentals, you may have a tenant that is tempted to sublet your rental property while he or she goes on an extended vacation. Or, perhaps your tenant has moved to a less expensive unit and is now using your property as a source of income.

Either way, subletting without your knowledge or permission can cause all sorts of problems. If you have language in your rental agreement that addresses the issue of subletting, you may be able to pursue a claim against your tenant.

The state of New York has some of the most unusual laws in the country when it comes to operating as a landlord. When it comes to dealing with legal matters concerning your rental property, it is advisable to seek the advice of legal counsel with experience in rental real estate litigation.

Below are steps you can take if you suspect that your tenant is subletting your rental property.

Is it subletting or house-sitting?

The first thing you should do is determine if a sublease is actually taking place. Be sure that the new "tenant" has actually entered into a lease with your original tenant and is not simply house-sitting.

Interview both people and if you determine that there is a sublease in existence, document the date it began and what terms the new tenant agreed to in the sublease.

Give notice

If your lease agreement prohibits subleasing, then you have grounds for a breach of contract. Notify your tenant, in writing, that the terms of the lease agreement have been violated and detail the consequences that will occur if the situation is not corrected within a specific timeframe.

For example, you can give your tenant 30 days to fix the problem before you take legal action.

Legal options

If you have provided notice to your tenant that subletting is a breach of contract and there are not actions taken to rectify the situation within the timeframe you specified, it may be time to take your tenant to court.

Since the landlord-tenant laws of New York can be difficult to navigate, be s ure that you understand both your rights and those of you tenant, as well as what protections are afforded to you by the lease agreement.

Contact a local New York attorney today to find out what options you have to fight against illegal subletting that is taking place at your rental property.