Legal Line Question: Succession Rights in Rent Stabilized and Rent Controlled Apartments
Can you please explain what succession rights are in rent stabilized and rent controlled apartments?
When a tenant dies or permanently leaves a rent stabilized or rent controlled apartment in New York State, a family member of the tenant may have the right to (1) a rent stabilized renewal lease, or (2) protection from eviction in an apartment under rent control (collectively, “Succession Rights”). The New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (the “DHCR”) has recently issued a fact sheet on succession rights in rent stabilized and rent controlled apartments (the “Fact Sheet”), which can be found by clicking here.
According to the Fact Sheet, if a family member has resided with the tenant as a primary resident in the apartment for 2 years immediately prior to the tenant’s death or permanent departure from the apartment, the family member will have Succession Rights. If such family member is a senior citizen or a disabled person (the definitions of which can be found in the Fact Sheet), the minimum period of co-occupancy is reduced from 2 years to 1 year. Moreover, if a family member resided with the tenant from the inception of the tenancy or from the commencement of the relationship, the family member may also have Succession Rights.
The Fact Sheet provides a definition of “family member,” which includes a tenant’s spouse, child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law or daughter-in-law. The definition also includes any person who (1) resides with the tenant as a primary resident, and (2) can prove emotional and financial commitment and interdependence with the tenant. The Fact Sheet further provides a list of factors that are to be considered in determining whether emotional and financial commitment and interdependence between the tenant and the other occupant existed.
Furthermore, the Fact Sheet states that the minimum periods of residency required in order to claim Succession Rights will not be considered interrupted by any period during which the family member temporarily relocates for certain reasons, including, but not limited to, being engaged in active military duty, enrolled as a full-time student, engaged in employment requiring temporary relocation, or hospitalized for medical treatment.
|Neil B. Garfinkel,
REBNY Broker Counsel
Partner-in-charge of real estate and banking practices at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP