Renting or subletting an apartment unit in a co-op is often a complex process. Co-ops tend to have strict guidelines regarding sublets. Without them, they risk letting in renters who do not meet their tenant/shareholder qualifications, which are critical to maintaining the environment the co-op has established. Co-op tenants undergo a lengthy and comprehensive application and interview process. Your co-op may require that your renter goes through a similar process.

Whether an owner may rent out their co-op unit depends on the policies of the individual co-op board. Some boards permit their tenants/shareholders to sublet their apartments. Some prohibit it altogether. Typically, the sublet agreement sets forth the terms of the tenant’s proprietary lease and rules that govern the co-op.

What can I expect if I ask to rent my co-op?

It is very important to understand your co-op’s subletting policy before renting out your apartment. Speak with the board and/or managing company before you do anything. You should also consult the bylaws.

Many co-ops have subletting policies that include issues such as:

  • Subletting fees – The bylaws may allow the co-op board to impose a sublet fee.
  • The length of time a unit may be rented – Two to three years is fairly common, although each co-op is different.
  • How many units may be rented at one time – Even if your co-op generally allows sublets, the building may be at its limit for sublets when you request permission.
  • The criteria for the renter – Some co-ops will require the renter to undergo the same interview and application process as a shareholder.
  • Why you wish to sublet – In some cases, the bylaws limit the reasons a shareholder may sublet to issues such as a job loss/transfer or other substantive change in circumstances.

If you have questions or if your co-op board is not abiding by the bylaws, speak with a tenants’ rights attorney to learn about your rights and options.