Considering how expensive it is to live in New York, those who are new to renting might assume that they can just find a rent-stabilized apartment or move into one currently occupied by a family member.
However, people in this position could be in for a rude awakening. Unless you are fortunate enough to find a vacant rent-stabilized apartment (which may be more available than previously thanks to the new rent laws), , there are specific circumstances under which a person succeed to a tenancy.
Having succession rights
To succeed to a rent-stabilized apartment, you must live continuously for at least two years with an immediate family member (or a “non-traditional family member”), as your primary residence. . (If you are disabled or at least 62, that period is reduced to one year.) In other words, one way to become a tenant in a rent-stabilized apartment is if you already live in one.
Further, in order to get succession, the tenant (family member or “non-traditional family member”) must vacate the apartment or die. The relevant two-years (or one year) of co-occupancy is the period before the tenant permanently moves out or dies.
It is important to note that a person cannot grant residency rights in a rent-stabilized apartment in a will. So, even if someone promises to leave the apartment to you after he or she dies, you still must meet succession criteria to lawfully become the tenant.
If you meet these criteria
If you feel you meet the necessary requirements for succession, you may continue living in the apartment at the same rate of rent as the previous tenant after claiming succession rights.
To assert a claim for succession you will need to provide proof that the tenant moved out or the tenant’s death certificate, proof of relationship and proof that the unit was your primary residence for at least two (or one) years. It is advisable to consult an attorney before forwarding any documents to a Landlord.
There are legal representatives who can help, as well as a myriad of resources from the city that explains various options and rights. Consulting these sources can help you make informed decisions and avoid costly missteps.