Number Of Occupants According To Area Of The Premises

Interviewer: Let’s say too many people live in one area, I guess sort of when the tenant says

“Oh, you know, there is -- you know, it’s just me two other people” but then you find out that there’s another person living there, what’s the situation with that and what are they related to?

Glen Malia: At first, you have to look at “Is the number of occupants in the premises too many for the square footage of the premises?” And let’s say it’s not, okay, just make that simple, that’s not the violation. You’ve got the violation which you’ve rented the house to two tenants or that rented the apartment to the tenant and the tenant and two other occupants, let’s say.

You know you got tenant and you got an occupant A, occupant B and you find out that there’s an additional fourth person living there. As a landlord, you have two -- basically, you have a couple of things. Number is you tell them you got to get that person out.

In a Written Lease a Landlord Goes Through the Lease Clauses and Provisions to Terminate a Lease

Now, if the tenant doesn’t get that person out and there’s a written lease, then you go through the lease clause, you go through the lease provisions as to what to do giving the tenant a written notice of the lease violation and giving a certain period of time to cure it and if they don’t it then go and terminate the lease. If you don’t have a written lease, then the only alternative is the landlord is to serve the tenant with the 30-day notice, the notice of termination to terminate the tenant’s month-to-month tenancy and then move forward at the appropriate time.

If the Extra Occupant is a Relative of the Tenant the Termination of the Lease Becomes Complicated

Now, it does get confusing when it’s a family member because even though many landlords will write leases and the leases say “to be occupied by tenant” and the named occupant or tenant only or the tenant and the named occupant, if the other person is a family member, in New York state, there is a law that allows a tenant even though it’s not included in the lease to have a family member or family members, which is -- included a sibling, a spouse, children of a sibling or children of a spouse or -- I believe the law would automatic -- does extend to a significant other as opposed to being in actual spouse too.

So, if it’s a relative, it’s a little bit more complicated whether or not you can terminate the tenancy and then, just for the mere fact that they’re there but then you’d have to look at the overcrowding situation.

Rules and Regulations Pertaining to the Increase in Rent of a Property

Interviewer: What can jeopardize raising the rent, what are the laws for that, what are the rules for that, how could someone be that you know?

Glen Malia: In most areas where I practice, there is no law that regulates the rent, okay. In some areas, there are all laws to regulate the rent depending upon the size and the number of units the premises has. So, working from the theory that there is no law regulating the rent either because the community the property is located and/or the size of the property, the landlord can basically charge whatever rent they want. But once a tenant comes in and says for example the tenant comes in with the rent at $1,000 a month with a one-year written lease while the rent stays the same for that year. Now, when that lease expires, then the landlord can raise the rent. If a tenant is in the property without a lease is that basically what they call an oral month-to-month tenancy, then the rent that comes in -- the rent that was agreed to is the rent unless until it’s changed by agreement between the landlord and tenant or the landlord has basically said to the tenant “Your tenancy is terminated”.

If You Have a Section 8(10) in Your Property, then the Maximum Amount of Rent is Regulated by the Housing & Urban Development Guideline

However, if you’d like to stay or if you like to continue after say July 1, you know the new rent will be X, the landlord would have to go and take steps to raise the rent. So, I mean basically the rent that’s charged in, I should say, all unsubsidized lease is whatever the landlord can get.

Obviously, the landlords, you know, will determine the rent want to charge based upon various factors. There is a very common though rental type subsidy that comes under federal government and it’s generally referred to the section 8 of rental subsidy. And if you have a section 8(10) in your property, then the maximum amount of rent is becoming by the Housing & Urban Development guideline for the rent. And you can’t just raise your rental automatically from year to year; the maximum rent is regulated, so then, the landlord is basically stuck with that rent, whatever the maximum rent is.

Malia Law, LLC located in Cortlandt Manor, NY represents Landlords/Tenants throughout Westchester County, Putnam County and Southern Dutchess County, NY.

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